CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – The firm, compassionate and cohesive community that embodies U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys is one of the cornerstones of its strength, setting a framework for an essential friendship between the American and Korean community members to grow and thrive.
This community's fundamental piece for strength is through the Good Neighbor Program, a community outreach program that builds friendship and cooperation through various initiatives with local Korean citizens.
At the virtual 2020 Good Neighbor Award Competition ceremony, which awarded numerous Good Neighbor Awards for differing categories, hosted by United States Forces Korea Feb. 1, Mr. Woo, Jong-mok, president of the Songtan-Osan Community Leaders Association, was presented the Good Neighbor Award – Individual (Korean) and honored by Col. Michael F. Tremblay, the commander of USAG-Humphreys, on behalf of USFK Commander Gen. Robert B. Abrams, for Woo's contributions to the Humphreys community.
“By doing Good Neighbor activities in the local community, we can solidify the Republic of Korea (ROK) – United States alliance,” said Woo. “I’m playing an intermediate role to create a closer relationship between the two countries.”
The Good Neighbor Program is a critical community relations initiative that promotes enhanced relationships between the U.S. and Korean communities, cultural awareness and continued strong cooperation.
"Young generations may not know about the Korean War and how the relationship between the United States and Korea started," said Yu, Pom-tong, the senior community relations officer for USAG-Humphreys. "It is important to know that many friendly people are surrounding you, because you will feel at home on and off the post, resulting in you performing your duties well and enjoying your life here. The more you know them (the Koreans), the more you will be proud working here in Korea.”
Although 2020 was a bleak year for events due to COVID-19, in previous years, Woo supported numerous community programs and events that helped strengthen the Humphreys area and the ROK-U.S. alliance. These included a ROK-U.S. soccer match, the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) Friendship Week, cultural tours to Pyeongtaek Port, Onyang Folk Museum and Admiral Yi’s Shrine, luncheons for Humphreys sponsored interns and Soldiers, as well as a Lunar New Year's event.
“Humphreys is the largest U.S. military base overseas, Woo said. “With many Americans coming to Korea, we would like to promote cultural awareness by introducing Korean culture to American Soldiers. We would also like to promote American culture to Korean citizens in neighboring cities, for cultural exchange.”
Good Neighbors and community relations programs further provide Soldiers with unique opportunities to increase their enjoyment and quality of life at Humphreys, augmenting and enhancing Soldier and family morale and spirit de corps.
“Once it is safe again, our Good Neighbors can provide more opportunities for our Soldiers and family members to be familiar with Korean culture and Korean lifestyle, allowing them to explore and enjoy their overseas life during their stay in Korea," said Yu. "When you are in a foreign country, you cannot achieve your goals without the local community's support. Therefore, keeping a strong community relationship is essential to enhancing the military’s ability to achieve its goals.”
Woo has a long history of supporting American forces, Humphreys and military operations in the ROK. He served in the ROK Army and separated as a staff sergeant in 1976, and became a Good Neighbor of the Seventh Air Force (Air Forces Korea) in 1994 and has remained a Good Neighbor of Humphreys since 2014.
“I had a challenging experience working at the Korean Demilitarized Zone when I served in the ROK Army in the past," said Woo. "Because of this, I started my Good Neighbor activities with a deep impression and affection for the U.S. Soldiers, who came all the way from the United States to protect our country. I promote and respect the fact that American Soldiers are sacrificing for our country.”
Woo is one of many Good Neighbors and local community members who play an essential role in the wellbeing and strength of the Humphreys community. The extensive devotion and dedication that these community members help sustain Humphreys are a testament to the formidable alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
“USAG-Humphreys has established and sustained a strong relationship and thanks to these efforts, we can perform our missions successfully,” said Yu. “Through strengthened relationships, our Korean friends and our Humphreys community members can be ambassadors for their own countries.”