UIJEONGBU, South Korea -- As the sun set behind the mountains in Uijeongbu, at precisely 5 p.m. local time, the thunderous boom from the cannon fired. This signified the end of the duty day and an era lasting more than 50 years.
The 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division’s Freeman Hall closure ceremony Oct. 16, marked the beginning of the final steps in the Warrior Division’s transition to Camp Humphreys.
Local leadership, including Command Sgt. Maj. Phil K. Barretto, 2ID/RUCD, and Aiea, Hawaii native, attended the ceremony and listened to a somber prayer from the division chaplain.
“We offer thanks for the past and present U.S. and ROK military members and their families who have served here at Freeman Hall and Camp Red Cloud with distinction,” said Lt. Col. Hyeon-Joong “Mike” Kim, a Seoul, Republic of Korea native, and the 2ID/RUCD division chaplain.
“For many decades, Freeman Hall, the headquarters building of the mighty 2nd Infantry Division, has been the symbol of keeping peace and freedom in Korea. Freeman Hall, at CRC has fulfilled its tasks and missions proudly,” said Kim.
One of the guests in attendance was Mr. Paul C. Hubbard, acting director for transformation and base closure, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan/Casey. He spoke after the ceremony about the process and reasoning behind the camp closure.
“Consolidating all of our efforts down at USAG Humphreys helps to limit the cost associated with ensuring the U.S./ROK alliance is met,” said Hubbard.
“It’s a bittersweet moment in closing Camp Red Cloud; bitter in the fact that we definitely enjoy working with ROK and providing support best we can to ensure peace, but it’s sweet knowing the fact that we’re closing it and returning the land to the ROK, so they can utilize this space and enjoy it as much as we have,” concluded Hubbard.
The 2ID/RUCD CSM spoke about what it means to him observing this ceremony.
“The closure of Camp Red Cloud is a significant event, especially being part of the command team that’s closing this base down. At times it’s sad with leaving the city of Uijeongbu,” said Barretto. “To be the last command team to shut down Camp Red Cloud is a monumental time to be here, it’s a sad day, but a happy day. I’m proud to be part of this command team, that we can give back Camp Red Cloud to the ROK government.”.
“But we have to look forward to the Pyeongtaek area and the opening of the new 2ID/RUCD headquarters. It’s been sad at some points, but it’s refreshing