Camp Mu Juk
Marine Expeditionary Camp, Pohang (MEC-P)
The city of P'ohang is located on the eastern coast of the Republic of Korea, approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Seoul. Marine Expeditionary Camp, Pohang (MEC-P) was a base where Marine units can stay while they're training at one of several ranges in the area. The Camp was designed to handle 2,000 Marines, and was home to several major exercises each year including Foal Eagle, Korean Intergrated Training Program (KITP), Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL), and Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration (RSOI). Marine Expeditionary Camp, Pohang was an 84-acre expeditionary encampment area located just outside the town of O'chon, South Korea. MEC-P had been a base camp for Marines deployed to exercises in the Republic of Korea for more than two decades.
Maintaining MEC-P throughout the year was challenging, especially for the detachment of Marines and Sailors stationed there to maintain the camp throughout the year. The Camp was a 2 hour drive from the nearest commissary or post exchange, and the temperature ranges from 98 degrees in the summer to below freezing in the winter. The normal rotation was 6 months for the Marines and Sailors who came from Okinawa. Many of them extend their tour because they enjoyed the training and the experience they got doing their job in an expeditionary environment.
Commander Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) Detachment P'ohang was located just south of P'ohang, on the 1st ROK Marine Division Base. CNFK Detachment P'ohang was home to 13 Marines and 2 Sailors. The mission of CNFK Det P'ohang was to liaison with Republic of Korea military and civilian agencies for US deployment training and contingency support planning and coordination. Detachment P'ohang also coordinated the use of 1st ROK Marine Division training areas and firing ranges by US forces to conduct combined training, maintains pre-positioned war reserve aviation and ground ordnance facilities at P'ohang and Yechon, maintains TacAir refueling operations, and provides supplemental communication capability for Commander Naval Shore Based Forces Korea.
In 1980, Camp Muchuk (also written Mu Juk or Mujuk), a Republic of Korea Marine Corps ammunition depot, was established as a III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) billeting facility to support repeated USMC deployment to the ROK. The name Mu Juk means invincible in the Korean language. For the 32 Marines stationed at Camp Mu Juk, invincible was a word that captured an essence of life on the dusty, 84-acre military facility. The small estate, which rested one mile outside the Republic of Korea Marine Corps' 1st Marine Division headquarters, was the site of numerous exercises for US Marines training in conjunction with ROK Marines. The overall mission of Camp Mu Juk was to house and support the incoming Marines who visited the facility annually.
With the help of the Naval construction detachment, the 9th Engineering Support Battalion Combat Service Detachment made several improvements to the camp. Improvements to the camp over the past 10 years included re-grading gravel roads, adding drainage ditches, a fuel point, generator shed, and water distribution system, as well as installing pre-engineered buildings and a second water well. In addition to improved facilities, the quality of life had improved at MEC-P with the addition of a mini mall, long-distance telephones, and the ROK Hard Cafe.
In 2002 the United States and the Republic of Korea agree to the Land Partnership Plan (LPP), outline a broad sweeping set of changes to the US base infrastrure in Korea. This agreement was ammended in 2004 with various additional facilities earmarked for closure or partial closure being added to the list. Under the LPP, authority for Marine Expeditionary Camp Pohang was returned to the Republic of Korea at Camp Mu Juk in exchange for the ability to maintain a continued precense and a guarantee of 26 weeks a year training time at the facility. CNFK Detachment Pohang's facilities on the 1st ROK Marine Corps base were also returned to the ROK under the LPP, with the Detachment moving to the US facilities at Camp Mu Juk.
Three new prototype fuel systems were tested on the chilling east coast beaches of South Korea in October 1998 in an effort to revolutionize the re-supplying of fuel for future Marine warfighters. Both US and Republic of Korea Marine forces, participating in the combined exercise Foal Eagle, provided an ideal setting for the D-Day Mobile Fuel Distribution System Concept Demonstration. In addition to the Marine participants from III MEF and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), numerous researchers and other contributors came from around the world to witness the testing of the 3 fuel systems.
Prior to the D-Day Mobile Fuel effort, there was no way to deliver bulk logistics fuel from over the horizon. So this was trying to meet a critical requirement that, up until that time had not been met. The Navy was required to provide fuel support to Marine landing forces from a ship offshore, but it was the Marine Corps' responsibility to receive that fuel at the high water mark ashore and push it inland to the warfighter. In the past, a Navy landing ship tank (LST) was used to feed fuel hose lines within 10,000 feet from the shore, but their deactivation from the active force and their limited distance forced the Marine Corps to find new ways of expediently bringing fuel ashore. To combat these issues, the Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) Warfighting lab in Hawaii and several technical experts from around the country started developing new designs for bulk fuel containers, about 4 years prior to the exercise, with support from the Office of Naval Research.
Approximately 45,000 gallons of fuel were offloaded from the Maritime Prepositioning Ship Motor Vessel Sgt. William R. Button and distributed to several units throughout Pohang and Marine Expeditionarry Camp Pohang to kick off Exercise Foal Eagle/Freedom Banner on 14 October 1998. Combat Service Support Group 3 Marines from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, and Force Service Support Group 3 Marines from Okinawa, Japan, used 5,000-gallon M970 tanks loaded on 931 tractors to receive the fuel and distribute it to dozens of vehicles, generators and other vital mechical assets in the exercises. The fuel was distributed to Marines to use over 5 weeks in field exercises, an amphibious landing and continuous base camp operations.
The Korean Intergrated Training Program (KITP) was a one and a half month joint training in conjunction with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines that took place in Pohang, Korea Marine Expeditionary Camp Pohang (MEC-P) from 8 November 2000 through December 2000. 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines and Combat Service Support Detachment 33 deployed to the chilly and austere Marine Expeditionary Camp Pohang in the Republic of Korea on 8 November 2000. Korean Incremental Training Program 00-1 was conducted in coordination with Republic of Korea Marine Corps forces to enhance warfighting skills and increase bilateral interoperability. After the exercise, 1/3 Marines and CSSD-33 redeployed to Okinawa to continue their training. 9th Engineer Support Battalion's MEC-P Combat Service Detachment remained behind to prepare the camp for the next exercise.
In early 2001 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, practiced systematic room clearing techniques and skills during a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) exercise in the Republic of Korea Marine Expeditionary Camp-Pohang. The Marines also tested versions of the new Marine combat uniform.
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