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This page is graphically intense with long load times due to photos. However, the photos and narratives by the men who served at Camp Echo Hill makes the wait well worthwhile.

HOW IT WAS!

Eagle

CAMP ECHO HILL
KIMJE, SOUTH KOREA

E/4/44 (Feb 1961-Sep 1972)
E/2/44 (Sep 1972-1976)


TABLE OF CONTENTS

America


bar

Visits to Hwangsan sites: On 11 November 2001, Kalani O'Sullivan and his daughter, Boram, visited the location of the old site. After many false starts they finally got instructions from a policeman who knew how to get to the temple area at a police box just outside Kimje. It was plain blind luck that they found this particular policeman as other people in Kimje -- including the Kimje Police Liaison -- knew nothing of the location. Following the policeman's instructions using Route 23, it was relatively easy to get to the area as the roads were all four-lane or straight-away two lane roads.


Kalani O'Sullivan at old Launcher Site Gate
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Go to Mini-profile of Kalani

Because the visit failed to find the correct locations of the unit, Hwangsan was revisited on 17 November 2001. This time, Kalani took along his wife and daughter. A lot of information was garnered during this visit and now it appears that a lot of misconceptions of the site being abandoned have been proven wrong. In addition, it was found that the ROK Air Force had assumed command of the camp from the ROK Army...and the Nike Hercules functions are now under the ROKAF "Air Defense Artillery Command". (SITE NOTE: In July 2006, the ROK Ministry of Defense stated that they will again reinstitute the Air Defense Artillery function under the ROK Army as there are plans for the SAM-X project to replace the aged and malfunctioning Nike systems. The ROK started in 2003 to negotiate for used PAC-2 missile batteries from Germany, but as of 2006 none had procured -- as the USFK has PAC-3 batteries at Suwon, Osan, Kunsan and Kwangju. In addition, there are the Army ATACMS multiple-launcher systems in place to respond to artillery response in case the North should attack.)


Chollabuk Province
From Kimje Internet
Click on Map to Enlarge


Location of Camp Echo Hill (E/2/44)

There are two routes to the site. The first is driving from Kunsan -- which has the International Airport -- on Route 26 towards Iksan. Famed for its cherry blossoms in spring, this road has been a main traffic route connecting the City of Keunsan and the City of Chunju since it became a four-lane expressway in 1975.

At Taeya, turn right onto Route 29. This will use country roads to get to Kimje City, but the roads are very well-marked in English. Kimje is a medium-sized town by American standards with a population of about 123,000. One will pass through Kimje from the west and have to drive through the city to get to the railway station on the west side. The road signs are in English, but at critical points the English translations are missing (though Korean directions are written). A warning to those not used to driving in Korea. If you get off the main road, try to get back on it immediately. Korean side streets do not follow the geometric grid patterns of the U.S., but rather flow with the lay of the land.

Once you get to the Kimje Railway Station, you pass over the over a bridge that crosses multiple railway tracks below. The village is approximately two miles to the east.


Kimje City
From Kimje Sightseeing Guide
Click on Map to Enlarge

A second method is to drive to Iksan from Kunsan using Route 26. At Iksan, you make a right at a "T" intersection onto Route 23. The route is very simple to use. However, it is NOT recommended unless, you know exactly where you are going and are used to the Korean interchange traffic patterns. The route has unmarked turns and only refers to "Hwangsan" in English on only one sign. Though by far the easiest method to get to the site, this route is not recommended for those NOT used to driving in Korea.

For those interested in the changes in the Kimje area, please go to Kimje Sightseers Guide from the Kimje City government. There's a lot to see in the area from the new Rice Museum to commemorate the oldest irrigation reservoir in Asia built in 400 A.D. and the temple of Keumsam-sa famed for its cherry blossoms in spring. The address for the Kimje City Government is: 353 Seoham Dong, Kimje City, Chollabuk Province 576-120 (Tel : 0568-540-3000).

ROK AIR FORCE 8220-5 SITE

ROKAF 8220-5 Site: On the subsequent visit of Kalani to Kimje, it was learned that old IFC, Admin area, and Launcher sites were occupied by the RoK Air Force (ROKAF) 8220-5 unit of the Air Defense Artillery Command. Their mission is the continuation of the Nike Hercules missile defense. The ROKAF assumed command in 1991 from the ROK Army and would be the lineal descendants of the ROK unit that took over Nike Hercules Battery in April 1977.

The Air Defense Artillery Command is under the Operations Command -- along with the Aircraft Control & Warning Wing and nine tactical fighter wings. According to RoK Defense Chronology, on July 1, 1991 the army's air defense artillery was transferred to the air force. The air force's Air Defense Artillery Command was established. (NOTE: On the 2000 Organizational Chart below, the command is listed as the "Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command.")


ROKAF Organizational Chart
From Chapter 1 Global Security Situation
Click on Chart to Enlarge


Sign for the ROKAF 8220-5 Site

The following photo is from the Agency for Defense Development. It shows the NIDIR or NIke-hercules Digital Instrumentation Radar. The unit is the AN/TPQ-39(V), NIDIR manufactured by RCA in 1978 and upgraded by Korea. A unit similar to this was observed just above Moon-soo-sa Temple on the old IFC site.


NIDIR

According to a rumor from one of the residents of the village near the camp, the camp will be closed in the near future. This would be in line with the announcement in Sept 2000 that the Korean government was seeking to replace their two aging Nike Hercules battalions with Patriot PAC-3 missile systems along with other missile systems.

The following is an excerpt from Asian Aerospace 2000 detailing Korea's needs in an article, "Asia-Pacific Economic Recovery Speeds Arms Procurement Revival" by John Fricker:

"SAM-X and M-SAM requirements emerged late last year for 48 launchers to re-equip two RoK Nike Hercules air defense battalions and 110 I-Hawk launchers with new 100/60 km range SAM/ABM systems, for 2003 deployment. A four-target simultaneous engagement capability is also sought from short-listed SAM/ABM contenders, which include 14 Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Patriot PAC-3 fire units costing $4.2 billion, EUROSAM Aster-based Land system, and Russia's Antei S-300V (SA-12 "Gladiator")."

"For shorter-range air defense, K-SAM development of Thomson-CSF's Crotale NG was started jointly in 1989 by Daewoo, as prime contractor, with Samsung Electronics contributing the fire control system, and Lucky Goldstar Precision the missile. In January, Thomson-CSF confirmed a 50% shareholding in Samsung Electronics' military business, plus a $230 million contract for Crotale NG surveillance and fire-control radars for the K-SAM Chonma program. Other recent RoK missile procurement includes 100 AGM-142C/D Popeye ASMs costing $1 million each."

In recent times, there has been a push to build more modern facilities for the soldiers and upgrade their military hardware. Now that Korea has joined the G-12 and become one of the four dragons of Asia, it can afford to do this. In the Sept 2000 Report to Congress on the Military Situation on the Korean Peninsula, it stated that the Korean government was going to procure the Patriot PAC-3 Missile systems to replace its two aging Nike Hercules battalions.

Under the recent Long Range Property Plan of the USFK-ROK, more and more U.S. military facilities are being returned to Korea with their infrastructure intact. Relocating a Patriot unit to one of these returned sites in the Seoul area would be more economical than upgrading an old one.

The infrastructure of old Camp Echo Hill is now approaching the forty-year mark in most areas. It is probably becoming expensive to maintain its antiquated infrastructure systems. The base is like a dinosaur in the computer age. In addition, the missile itself is supposedly ineffective.

The following is an article in the BBC News on 20 December 2001.

S Korea missile system 'useless'



The Nike system was developed by the US in the 1950s A leaked secret review of South Korea's Nike anti-aircraft missile system has found 90% of the weapons are almost useless.

The report came out of a series of tests held since a missile accidentally blew up over the western port of Inchon three years ago, injuring several people.

The first test found only eight out of 100 Nike Hercules missiles managed to launch warheads. Subsequent tests have shown 70% failure rates.

What Nike should do

Range: 75 miles Speed: Mach 3.65 Alt: 150,000ft

According to the report, the military have imposed a ban on live missile launches because of safety fears. Opposition politicians have called for defence officials to be punished for allowing the system, first installed in the 1960s, to deteriorate.

The Yonhap news agency quoted Chang Kwang-keun of the main opposition Grand National Party as saying: "The government should take this opportunity to overhaul the military's weapons systems."

New system

Correspondents say South Korea sees its missile system as a key deterrent against possible air attack from North Korea.


The 1998 accident happened near a residential district

A defence ministry official said the country was now reliant on shorter-range missiles and anti-aircraft guns.

The disclosures come as the military is seeking to replace the Nike system with Patriot missiles.

Both the Nike and Patriot missile systems are made by the same US company, Raytheon.

A $1.6bn deal for 48 Patriot missiles was due to be placed by the end of the year, but military officials say their decision has been delayed by disagreements over price and terms.

The last US-based Nike Hercules system in Florida was decommissioned in 1979.

HWANGSAN TOWN


Hwangsan Town Sign at the Town Office
"Kimje Shi (City) Hwangsan Myon (Town) Imnida (Come)

Hwangsan Town: The town of Hwangsan is typical of small country towns and is tidy-looking -- not run-down. In the center of the village is a post office and a middle school along with small shops. The streets are clean and the two lane road passes through the center of the town. Most of the shops are of the old-style small building construction. The only newer buildings appear to be the elementary school and government offices. The farmers' small tile-roofed homes are clustered behind the shops fronting the main street.

The town of "Hwangsan" is NOT the village that Ken Wisz remembered in his descriptions. The village noted by Ken was on the SOUTH side of the hill, while the town of Hwangsan is on the NORTH side. The village will be referred to as "Saemaul" (New Town) or the "Ville" in this text.


Post Office (2001)

Main Street (2001)

Farmer House behind the Village (2001)

Road into the Ville from
Hwangsan (2001)
The Quarry on Hill

View of old IFC site from the town: Right behind the village is the IFC hill. The hill itself is densely covered in various types of trees. Ken had mentioned that the site was abandoned, but it is definitely occupied by a military unit as antennas are visible from below. Though the trees concealed most of the site from the bottom, the site does not appear to be very large. (It would be approximately the same space as the John Crawford's IFC photo.) The site is used by the ROK Air Force 8220-5 unit which uses the IFC area, the old Admin area and the old Launcher site.

Public Roads and Military Roads in the Village Area: The road to the IFC was NOT the one mentioned in Ken's descriptions of the old site. The roads are now divided into a public access road to get to the temple and the ROKAF military controlled roads up the hill that passes through the old Admin area.

The public access road is a narrow concrete farm road with no shoulder, while the military road appears to be American type construction with wide shoulders for truck use. The public is barred from the use of these military use roads. Afterwards Ken wrote, "After rehashing your trip description in my mind, I think that you may have gone up another road that used to run from just west of the ville, past the quarry and temple and came out between the admin area and ifc gate. It was nothing more than a couple of well trodden ruts back then."

The military road appears to start at the base of the hill in the village and leads to the Main Gate of the old Admin Area. It exits from a back gate and leads up to the juncture with the public access road. On the road from the back gate, there is a short branch road that leads to the upper area of the Admin area that is slightly higher than a duck farm that is outside its fence line.

Roads to old IFC site and Moon-soo-sa Temple (Munsu-sa): The road up the hill was on the opposite side. The limestone quarry scars are readily visible from the main road. Unlike the photos of the quarry being totally void of trees, the trees now are right up to the edge of the quarry. The photo of the quarry shows a pre-school along the road to the village.


Quarry view
From E Battery Yearbook (1975)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)


Quarry (2001)

Quarry (2001)

Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

On the right hand side of the road is a large sign stating "Moon Soo-sa Temple" and extolling its 1,000 year history. You turn left onto a narrow concrete farm road.

At the base of the hill, it is a typical farm community with the small houses tightly clustered and the road snakes through these houses. The houses are clustered behind a long wall that blocks them from the road.

The winding concrete farm road is in pretty good shape though one has to back up to let other cars pass because it is so narrow. This road is typical of the roads constructed during the mid-1990s when all the dirt roads were paved (concrete) by government action. Despite the narrowness, it was very easy to get up the hill.

About half way up the hill, there is a duck farm. Rather nice to watch the ducks waddle across the road to get water -- all in line. However, the smell could be overpowering in summer. This duck farm would be in-line with the old Admin area located to the east of it. At the back of the chicken/duck open pen is the fence line of the old Admin area. A tiny chapel is visible on the ROKAF base between the trees in the upper area of the Admin area. This area is assumed to be the enlisted billeting area.

There were country style houses along the route up, but none of the mud wattle houses with thatched roofs (shown in John Crawford's picture) that were "traditional" back in the old days. All the homes seen had tile roofs. Remember that this is not much of an improvement in country homes as the tiles are affixed in place by a mud straw layer (clay). Kalani said, "Judging from the small size of the buildings and shoddy quality of construction, I would guess that all the inhabitants of the hill are farmer class and basically poor country folks."

The road continues up the hill past the houses. The road comes to a "T" intersection. The right road is barricaded for only military use and appears to be the old Admin Area road to the IFC gate. Angling off the military road there is a small road that leads to an a ROKAF area behind the duck farm. The old Admin area appears to be the living area for the lower enlisted ROKAF contingent. ROKAF Airmen were observed playing baseball in an open area outside the gate.

At the juncture of the old Admin road, the road angles upward at about 20 degrees. Kalani stated, "The road was lined with trees with leaves bright in their fall colors. Very pretty. If you were taking a walk, this would be a very refreshing walk -- angle of road about 20 degrees. However, the trees do not appear to be indigenous, but rather transplanted on the roadside to create this beautiful effect." The reason Kalani says this is that the rest of the hill's trees are green-leafed.

MOON-SOO-SA TEMPLE

At the top of the 20 degree incline road there is the Moon-soo-sa Temple (Munsu Temple). A small parking area is on the right. It is a short walk up a concrete path to the temple. The first thing one passes is a pagoda on to the left. Right above this there appears to be the living quarters for the monks. To the right there was the typical "open hole" toilet on the side of the path (with a hole big enough to fall in) -- a typical scene for mountain temples.

On the next level is the main courtyard. In the main yard there is a shelter with the large bell and to the rear there is a large white standing buddha with its back against the hill. There is one large building beside it -- that houses a wooden buddha -- and two smaller buildings nearer the entrance path. The smaller two are for Buddha images and for use as a meditation hall.

The restoration work is excellent. The restoration work appears to have been done in the 1990s and this site upgraded for tourism. Attention to detail is evident. The dragon head decorations extending from the smaller buildings have whiskers. One of the smaller buildings with the Buddha images has sliding glass doors to make viewing from outside possible. The other smaller building probably for meditation is equipped with air-conditioning. The walkways and steps are of recent construction -- within the past ten years. The viewing points to enjoy the scenic vistas have railings and concrete platforms.


Path down to Parking Lot

Temple grounds

Bell

Bell Shelter

Pagoda

Small building with
Sitting Wooden Buddha

Mural on building

Small building with
Buddha Images

Buddha carved in stone

Buddha statue

Boram with Buddha Statue

Boram at foot
of Buddha Statue

Moon-soo-sa Temple (2001)
Click on photos to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

The layout is very typical of the old-style Buddhist temples. In the setting of trees with a very nice view of the countryside, this is a very picturesque temple. The panoramic view over the surrounding area is very nice.


Moon-soo-sa Temple
From E Battery Yearbook (1975)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

The picture of the temple in 1975 is about the same as it is today. In the photo, you can see the pagoda that's mentioned between the trees. The building shelter to the far left houses the bell. The far right building is the meeting hall. The building in the foreground is one of two buildings mentioned. Besides a few coats of paint, a different Buddha statue and some concrete work on the path, it has not changed much.


PFC Vetter at temple
Note IFC fence in bkgnd (1975)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

The Buddha statue is in the same location against the hill behind the far right building. However, the Buddha statue and base has been changed. The old statue's face had a mustache. The new one has a peaked hat and no moustache. The statue was probably replaced during the late 1990s when the anti-Japanese fervor hit its peak. The peaked-hat buddhas are some of the oldest buddha images found in Korea BEFORE Buddhism was sent on to Japan through the Paekjae Buddhist monks (educated in China). This type of action is in keeping with Korea's ideas of "revisionist history." Items of history that offend are simply replaced.

There are two buddha images in the temple that are considered "local treasures" -- registered landmark items with the Chollabukdo Provincial Government. One is the Wooden Sitting Amida Buddha which is housed in a small building with elaborate murals on the exterior.


Buddha image in Temple (1973)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
(Courtesy Steven S. Holsclaw)

The second is a carved stone buddha that is found behind the buildings in a small alcove near the old IFC fenceline. Listed as the "Moonsoosa Mar-ae Yourae Jwasang" (sedentary statue), it is designated as the Tangible Cultural Asset No.175. Dating from the Koryo Dynasty, the sedentary statue in granite is an expression of Buddha on a lotus flower, which is a characteristic pattern.

The close proximity of the temple to the old IFC site is seen by the radar antenna/radome that are visible over the roof of the buildings in the courtyard. The fence line of the old IFC site cannot be seen from the temple as the bamboo thickets and trees hide it.

IFC SITE

From Hwangsan Town, the antennas of the old IFC site can be observed. From the ground level, not much detail can be seen. There appears to be radio communications antennas on high poles. Only one radome could be seen and light poles surround the site. There appears to be a group of low buildings that cover a relatively small area. In John Crawford's photos of the IFC, the site would be approximately the same size.

From the parking lot in front of the temple, the road leads to the old IFC site at the top of the hill. The road changes from a 20 degree slope to a 30 degree slope. On his initial visit, Kalani drove up this road until he hit the main gate. Kalani wrote, "Continued up this narrow road and was met by military guards with automatic weapons and a locked gate. Noticed the badge was ROKAF Security Police and another guard had the "Ranger" tab over his pocket. These type guards are for high-security areas." Entrance to the site is prohibited. In Korea, you get shot for pulling out a camera on a secure site. As there was no room to turn around, Kalani had to back down the hill to the juncture where the temple is.

In reviewing the old 1975 photo of the IFC gate, Kalani is convinced that this is the old IFC gate. Everything is exactly the same -- including the 30 degree angle of the road -- except that now trees are on both sides of the road and the area is much greener-looking. The left side of the road has stacks of tires lining the length of the road all the way up to the gate. We assume that it is for winter driving when the concrete road would become slick with ice/snow and to prevent trucks from slipping off hill.



IFC Gate Shack (1975)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

The close proximity of the IFC to the Moon-soo-sa Temple can be illustrated by radome and antenna that was photographed through the trees at the temple. The radome (antenna/electronics inside) was in the medium-size range. In addition, there appeared to be an external communications dish on the same platform with the radome. Its function is unknown.


Radar seen
between trees

Radar Antenna Seen
Between Trees

Moon-soo-sa Temple (2001)
Click on photos to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

Blowup of Antenna between trees
Click on photo to enlarge

Carl Woida, CW4 (Ret), Launch Officer 1971-72, commented on the radome, "It looks pretty much like a Nike missile site radar to me. On every Nike site there were 3 like it: a missile tracking radar (MTR), a target tracking radar (TTR), and a target ranging radar (TRR). All 3 look identical from a distance." Later Ken Wisz commented that it looked like the IFC site radomes on raised platforms. However, the platform was reinforced with diagnol cross-beams.

Kalani O'Sullivan said that he knew the IFC was operational since he was close enough to the fence line to hear the hum of its airconditioning.


IFC crew (1975)

IFC Crew (1975)

IFC Crews from Yearbook
Click on photos to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

In comparing the photos 1975 and 2001 Admin area and IFC site, there appears to be a similar radome and radar antenna on the IFC site for both time periods. Though less prominent in the 2001 photos, they are in about the same location -- directly above the Admin Area.

(NOTE: The photos angles are different between the photos. The 1975 photo was taken in the rice fields with a direct shot towards the IFC, while the 2001 photo was taken from the edge of the road closer to the Saemul Village. Thus the appearance of the distance between the IFC and the Admin Area differs between the photos.)

We had previously thought that the Nike Hercules was under the ROK Army jurisdiction, but later found that in July 1991, the command had shifted to the ROK Air Force control in the "Air Defense Artillery Command" (under the ROKAF "Operations Command"). (NOTE: On the ROKAF Organizational Chart, the command is listed as "Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command.")

Based on the antenna location similarities and physical resemblance of the antenna systems, we reversed our initial opinion that the site there was no Nike Hercules at the camp. Instead, we now feel the site is an operational Nike Hercules unit -- part of one of the two aging Nike Hercules battalions that Korea possesses.


IFC (1975)

Admin Area & IFC site (1975)

IFC site blowup (1975)

Admin Area and IFC Site (1975)
Click on photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)


Admin Area & IFC Site (2001)

IFC site blowup from different photo (2001)

Admin Area blowup (2001)

IFC site blowup (2001)

Admin Area and IFC Site (2001)
Click on photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)


SAEMAUL VILLAGE AREA

The village area used to be known as "Saemaul" or "New Town." It is now a depressed area. The road is lined with small buildings and shops that are deserted and falling apart or shuttered and locked. The building fronts are unpainted and all structures have paint peeling off of them. Unlike Hwangsan Town, this village reminds us of a statement that appeared in Asia Business Week in the 1990s. It stated, "The Korean countryside is filled with only two things -- graves and old people waiting to get there." This is one of those places.

Starting at the west end of the village, one passes the road that leads to the Moon-soo-sa Temple (Munsu-sa). To the left (north) is a long light-green painted wall behind which the tightly packed farmers homes are clustered. Behind the homes is the base of the hill. To the right (south) of the road are rice fields.

After the wall, both sides are lined with small cubby-hole type shops that are typical in older towns or older sections of the Korean cities. Most are shuttered or abandoned.


"Giant" Club (1975)

The old "Giant" Club on the west side of the village is now a small church meeting hall. Behind the shops on the left (south) of the road, the base of the hill steeply rises. Behind the shops on the right, there are small "vinyl" greenhouses (metal half-hoops with vinyl stretched over them) in the elevated patches of ground for growing vegetables out of the elements. The rice fields are behind these.


Looking towards
Launcher Site from Ville

On the east end on the left . there is a traffic light on the intersection that blinks yellow with a blue sign pointing to the "ROKAF 8220-5 Camp." The road up the hill seems incongruous as it is larger than the normal country roads seen -- even for Korean military sites. This area was the former bar row for the Camp Echo Hill soldiers.


Ville Main Road Intersection

Ville Main Road heading West

Main road passing through Saemaul (New Town)
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

The Old Bar Row: Once the American GIs departed, the economy of "Saemaul" (New Town) died. The bar girls -- mostly older women in their forties moved away -- and the bar owners closed their businesses. Any other businesses that supported the bars -- such as a beauty shop -- died as well.

Miss Lee and Miss Cho behind Bar Row (1975)
Click on photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

On the right corner of the old Admin Road is the "Ni Yong Shil" Beauty Shop which is now abandoned with the windows broken out and door collapsed. Only the faded painted lettering on small buildings shows that there was a business there before.

Above the abandoned beauty shop is a cluster rooms in a Korean-style compound. The compound ends in a bamboo thicket on the upper levels of the hill. According to Mrs. Sao of the Odong Super, most of these are now filled by old people. This situation in a country town is very common as most of the young people have moved away to the cities to find work. Very few people remained behind as farmers. Even today, farmers are finding it harder and harder to find brides as no young women want to work on a farm.

In addition, few Koreans live in homes like these anymore. Most of the Korean lower-income populace now live in small government-built apartments rather than these small old-style houses. The old-style houses had cramped rooms that were drafty in winter and sweltering hot in summer. In addition, if the room were well-sealed in winter, the danger of carbon-monoxide poisoning from the charcoal hondol floor-heating system existed.

On the right side of the old Admin road is the old "Oasis UN Club" -- formerly "Sam's." The building now houses a rice cake (ttok) factory. (Rice-cake or "Ttok" comes in various shapes, but the most common is a long stick which is cut into slices for soup.) In the dark interior, there are three rice-cake mixture blending machines on the left as you enter. An extruding machine is at the rear. On the right side there is a long table for cutting the rice-cake to size. Other than that the room is empty.


Oasis UN Club (1975)

As a Rice-cake Factory (2001)

"Oasis UN Club" Then and Now
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz/Kalani O'Sullivan)

Below the old "Oasis UN Club" location, there is a rest pavilion. It is constructed to overlook the main road that passes through the village. There is a road behind the pavilion that winds its way to a church on a small hill. Behind the old "Oasis UN Club," there used to be "hootches" and old-style farmer homes built up on a small hill. Modern homes have been built in this area to replace the old farmers homes.

Above the old "Oasis UN Club" was the "Tailor Shop." This run-down building was shut at the time of the visit, but appeared to be occupied. The buildings above these were occupied with cars in front of them.


Old Admin Road (2001)

Pavilion and road to hill (2001)

Admin Area Road
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

Across the main road intersection at the old Admin area road is the "Odong Super" -- a tiny grocery store run by Mrs. Sao Soon-Hee. She has lived and worked in the village for 47 years. She lost her husband last year and said that in a year or two, she'll give away the store and retire. She now lives with her daughter in an apartment in Kimje. A soft-spoken lady, she was kind enough to tell us about the town and its occupants. She speaks no English. She sadly recollected that most of the people moved away to Seoul after the GIs left.


Odong Super (2001)

Sao Soon-Hee (2001)

Mrs. Sao Soon-Hee and Odong Super (2001)
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

Above the entrance of the store is a tarpaulin canopy to keep the sun and rain from beating down. Outside the store is a raised square platform -- covered with vinyl floor matting -- for sitting and laying on during hot weather. The entrance to the store is the old wooden sliding door-type. The interior of the store is dark and one has to step down to enter. Some of the counter glass tops have been broken out and replaced by fencing wire. The shelves don't have much on them except for some sundry food condiments and house supplies. On the shelves are mostly snacks and soft drinks. Mrs. Sao said that though she lived there for many years, most GIs probably wouldn't known her name.

If anyone remembers her, her address is:

Mrs. Sao Soon-Hee
Odong Sang Hee
65-8
Hwangsan-dong, Kimje-shi
Chonbuk, South Korea 576-170

Some of the people that Ken Wisz remembered -- such as Kim Ung Muk, the battery interpreter -- Mrs. Sao didn't know. It was possible that these people worked on the base, but commuted from Kimje. One must remember that most "interpreters" were college-educated individuals from upper-level families. Most would not live in country villages.

Ken Wisz had written, "If you find the old ville look for some people named Paek. We rented our hooches from them. A son named Paek Chung Chul was our interpreter/ translator/ procurer. I often wonder what happened to all them folks who worked at the battery after we left. ..."

As for the Paek family who owned the "Oasis UN Club" (formerly "Sam's"), Mrs. Sao stated that the family moved to Seoul. The only ones left in the village from this family are the relatives on the mother's side. Currently, the 90-year old uncle on the mother's side is living in the Paek family's home.

Paek Chung Chul (1975)
Click on photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)

As for Paek Chung Chul, she didn't remember him as a "translator/interpreter" but rather as a street-wise little boy who would say "Hi" to GIs and get chocolate from them. Later he grew up to be a street hustler. After the GIs left, the village fell on hard times and the family moved away to Seoul. Park Chung Chul had some problems later on in life. Now in his fifties, he is still unmarried and lives in Seoul.

The other buildings along the old Admin road have reverted to farm usage. The hootchs that were occupied by some of the soldiers are still there, but now they are simply farm homes.

ADMIN AREA

Old Admin Area: Heading up the hill, the old Admin Road passes around a bend to the left and there are bamboo thickets to the left on the hillside. To the right there is a view of the rice fields below. Below the shoulder of the road to the right, there are well-tended graves.

The road makes a turn to the right and then meets up with the Main Gate of the ROKAF 8220-5 Camp. The road is much wider at this point than at the IFC site and a car can easily turn around. Of course, no pictures are allowed at these sites -- even of a main gate. It is rather strange that the road up to the bend where the military road takes over is paved. However, the military portion leading up to the Main Gate is covered with loose gravel that is tightly packed.

As was said before, the ROKAF 8220-5 is thought to be the lineal descendant of Battery E of Camp Echo Hill. Though the camp and equipment was turned over in April 1977 to ROKAADCOM (Republic of Korea Air Aircraft Defense Command), somewhere in the past the Army function was shifted to the ROKAF. Currently under the ROKAF "Operations Command" organizational chart, the "Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command" is positioned. This means that the Nike Hercules is a ROKAF function. It is unknown when the transition to ROKAF control took place.


Road to Main Gate (2001)

Road to Ville (2001)

Towards Launcher Site
(South) (2001)

Towards Launcher Site
(Southwest) (2001)

Views from Admin Area Road (2001)
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

Judging from Ken's drawing of the Admin Area, the rear exit of the Admin Area is the road that joins the public access road below Moon-soo-sa Temple (Munsu-sa) that was noted before. It is unlikely that the Koreans built a new military road. The back gate road joins the Temple road and then continues on in a straight line to the IFC gate.

The Admin area houses the lower enlisted ranks. This assumption is made from Kalani's observation of a baseball game by ROKAF personnel. That it was being held in an open area at the juncture of the road to the Moon-soo-sa Temple would indicate that their barracks were nearby. In Ken's old drawings, the old NCO barracks were near the gate. These were probably converted for lower enlisted use by the ROK Army -- and later ROK Air Force. Kalani surmised that married senior NCO families and officer families were probaby housed behind the old Launcher site from his observations.

One may think that forty-year old barracks would be ready for demolition. However, try to understand that in the past, the ROK military spent virtually nothing on creature comforts for their younger enlisted troops. The hardships was thought to be essential for hardening them as soldiers. On Kunsan AB, Kalani has a photo of an oil-heated quonset hut that was used from 1953 until about 1995 as lower enlisted living quarters.

LAUNCHER SITE

Old Launcher Site As one exits the "Saemaul" (New Town) heading east, one sees the rice fields to both the right and left of the road. There is a large irrigation pond on the left. Passing the bus stop to the left, there is a road to the right. There is a sign indicating the ROKAF 8220-5 Camp Site.

The gate of the Launcher can be seen from the road. However, nothing else can be seen of the the old Launcher site as it is all obscured by trees.

Launcher Gate looking towards Admin Area
Click on photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

On his visit, Kalani stopped at the Launcher Site gate and spoke with the two ROKAF guards. Like the IFC site, they had the "Ranger" tab above their pockets along with the ROKAF Security Police badge. Kalani said, "The ROKAF Sergeants on guard would not permit any pictures of the site. However, I showed them my American military and Korean ID cards because in rank-conscious Korea, it helps to be a retired officer as well as a teacher. As such, they politely tried to answer what questions they could. Understanding their position on security, I asked only questions that were not security related. Unfortunately, they knew very little of the history of the area." Though they did not know much of the local area, they provided some leads to people with information on the area.

Admin Area and IFC view (1975)
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Ken Wisz)


Main Road toward
Admin Area (2001)

Main Road toward
Admin Area (2001)

Views from Admin Area Road (2001)
Click on the photo to enlarge
(Courtesy Kalani O'Sullivan)

The guards stated that the current site was about the same approximate size and shape as the drawing Ken had done. From what had been seen so far from the exterior, there had been no changes to the area. It would therefore be a safe assumption that the interior of the site would still be quite similar to the map that Ken drew.

There is a road that passes the Main Gate and goes around to the rear. Kalani said, "The road is a civilian road and cars can pass without an identity check. For example, while at the gate, a truck filled with bricks passed. However, I noticed that the guards saluted two of the cars with drivers in civilian clothes that were heading down this road. Judging from the car make/model and guards response, I guessed that these were probably NCOs. In Korea, the guards salute anyone who outranks them -- and if an officer, they shout a response. That these individuals were heading to the rear area would indicate that NCO housing was behind the site."

It appears that the ROKAF took over the site enmasse making very few improvements over the years in the Admin area, IFC site and Launcher site. There appears to have been no improvements to the area over the years -- only a change in units.


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For comments or inputs, contact Kalani O'Sullivan .

NOTICE/DISCLAIMER: The content of this page is unofficial and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of anyone associated with this page or any of those linked from this site. All opinions are those of the writer and are intended for entertainment purposes only. Links to other web pages are provided for convenience and do not, in any way, constitute an endorsement of the linked pages or any commercial or private issues or products presented there. None of this site has been endorsed by the DOD, the United States Army, the USFK, the Republic of Korea or Mickey Mouse. All links are publicly accessible through the world-wide web. If there is any discrepancy between eye-witness accounts and OFFICIAL DOD records, this site opts to lend credence to the eye-witness views.


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10 Nov 2001


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