Abandoned USFK Base
On the way in, just meters from the bus stop, I could see the base in the distance. You can see a couple buildings visible in the armpit of that mountain. Up on the right is a big silo, which I would later come right up to before some very tense circumstances made me arm myself and quickly retreat.
The soldiers who saw these pictures were surprised by those highrises. "Is that downtown Bongilcheon?" No, Bongilcheon is no longer a city; that's a suburban apartment complex of Paju that will open next year.
Walking through the Ville to get to the base.
This used to be the motor pool, and presumably a lot of chemicals soaked into the ground leaving it unsuitable for any more vegetation.
Up at the front wall, I decided to walk around and see what I could find.
Turns out, a safe.
Park Myeong-seon seems to have served here, and now works for LG Display, I think.
This club seems to have some renown. Apparently this alley was the scene of a lot of late-night fights. 77 Club had girls working there the soldiers gave nicknames to like Thunder Thighs and Miss Piggy. The other building straight at the end of this alley may have been called the "Ram Club."
I found a couple stray cats.
And also had a can of cat food with me.
I took a picture of this old shack.
They seem to be cooperating on food.
The lid is a bonus so they can both eat at the same time.
Anyway, on post I discovered this base was known for its many stairs.
This building is said to have been an NCO club, a PX, and a community center with multiple functions.
Pretty intimidating ceiling.
There was not much left.
Looks like a big guillotine.
This is kind of the state of a lot of buildings around here.
This is the entrance to the bowling alley.
And there are the lanes.
Better lighting from the other side.
A better look at the community center from the bowling alley.
Climbing higher up the hill, I saw this building which was apparently an engineering brigade HQ and was only constructed in 2000.
The guys think this was used for storage of tools and communications equipment. Definitely not prisoners, and probably not hazardous materials, which would have been further downhill at the motor pool.
Looking back at the first two buildings.
From back here, it looks more like a resort or retirement home.
I have not found out why this was called Hanbit Hall.
Further uphill, this was the next thing I saw. I didn't go in.
Apparently this was the library.
Judging by this signboard, several years ago an SK Energy consortium had a project here.
A third view. This building seemed to still be getting power.
Stairs leading to one of the barracks.
This is the only barracks building I approached.
Inside was dark and kind of intimidating.
The rooms were nicer than I would've thought.
Further uphill by the helipad, I noticed the sound of someone moving through the brush. It sounded like two soldiers marching in step with each other at a fast pace. Then I saw, it was a wild boar. The boar saw me and hurried up toward me for a closer look. I hurried up to that silo or whatever it is up at the very top, preparing to either climb it to escape the beast or get ready to fight it off. Up there, I disturbed two deer which ran off. Tripod in hand, I started making my way back down, occasionally hearing the boar's footsteps in the brush to my left.
Then I heard another sound: a truck coming up from the other direction, where I'm assuming there's a back gate that's also open. At first I thought it was someone coming for me, as I'd been making a lot of noise scaring off the boar. But the truck didn't turn up toward the helipad toward me, heading off to the main gate I'd come in from.
I kept going and hit the main road, and about 15 minutes later I heard the sound of another truck coming up behind me. This time I hid in the bushes to avoid it as it passed. But it parked uphill from me, engine idling, for at least 10 minutes. I heard doors slamming, and then the sound of liquid being poured out, like from some kind of narrow-mouthed container. Finally the truck continued along the road, passing right by me without seeing me and heading downhill and out the front gate.
You might know when a USFK base gets returned to Korea, there is often controversy over contamination. I'm sure there's some basis for this, but also to Korean civilians any little stain left behind is an affront. I have heard one report when the base closed, some of the oil tanks hadn't been fully emptied. And also, there appears to have been Agent Orange stored at Howze at some point. So now, I strongly suspect there are Koreans taking advantage of this, dumping out chemicals on former bases like Camp Howze thinking it's the perfect crime, and the US will just end up getting blamed.
This picture was taken while hiding in the brush.
And this one shows where the truck was idling. It would've been facing from left to right, stopped in front of that orange marker.
Another view of this building.
As the sun set, I was curious what that supertall complex in the distance was.
Safely back in the Ville, words I don't think have ever been uttered before.
Ah the marshmallow crops of Gyeonggi-do.
Please remember that these photos are all copyrighted to me. If you want to use them in any way, there's a 90 per cent chance I'll give you my permission, and be able to give you a copy with a higher DPI.Copyright Daehanmindecline 2017