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NEWS | Dec. 8, 2021

U.S. Veterans of Korea Reflect on Past, Push Toward Future

By Sgt. Courtney L. Davis U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Public Affairs Office

CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea -- The Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs hosted former U.S. service members for a Revisit Korea program orientation and base tour at Camp Humphreys Dec. 3.

While the program previously was dedicated to service members who served during the Korean War, it now welcomes all former U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) service members and honors their contribution to the ROK-U.S. alliance.

“I served from 1986-1987 with the 51st security police squadron in Osan, and I worked with the ROK military on the gates at the air base,” said Mark McCraw. “I have had many people who have served in the military. My wife was in the navy, and my grandfathers were in the Korean War, so I am really excited to be here for the revisit tour.”

George Kranske, administrative officer executive assistant from USFK’s transformation and restationing office, painted a vivid picture of Camp Humphreys before 2007. It began as a sea level base with just an air strip surrounded by rice paddies and several Korean villages. For three to four years, 5,000-pound trucks dumped dirt on the land every day to create a high foundation, he explained.

Several veterans’ faces lit up as they remembered what it was like to be stationed on a peninsula as rural as Korea was decades ago.

“I was actually up north near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). We were a hot missile battalion. It was five miles from the Imjin River. We did air defense for the DMZ area. We were embedded with the 2nd Infantry Division,” said Paul Mallory. “I am just very interested in seeing what the Korean people have done. It’s very interesting to see how they have grown, and how they have built up the whole area is different from when I was here. There were dirt roads and grass shacks and just little huts. From when I was here it is quite a bit of difference.”

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