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Camp Hialeah

In August 2006 Camp Hialeah closed and preperations were made to transfer ownership of the facility to the Republic of Korea. Mention of this shift was made in US-ROK Land Partnership Plan in 2002, when the expected date of closure was 2011.

Camp Hialeah was reportedly named during WWII for the well-known horse racing track. Camp Hialeah was located on the Southern most tip of the Korean peninsula in the port city of Pusan, Korea's second largest city with a population of 6 million. It was also Korea's principal seaport.

Camp Hialeah served as home to soldiers, airmen and sailors who were assigned to commands residing in the Pusan area, to include Pier 8, the Pusan Storage Facility, the Defense Reutilization Management Office, and a variety of commands working out of Kimhae Air Port, west of Pusan. Camp Hialeah provided the primary support facilities for McNab Compound at Cheju-do Island, Pusan's Pier 8, and the Pusan Storage Facility at Pier 6.

Pusan is the 6th largest container port in the world and the 2nd largest city in Korea with a population of 3 million. Many unique shopping opportunities, picturesque fish markets and Buddhist temples. Camp Hialeah was a very friendly, small town atmosphere installation with about 2500 military/dependents. Facilities were said to have been adequate, including a PX, Commissary, Rec clubs, Entertainment, and Education Center.

The main area of the compound was once owned by the Cho Sun Racing Association and was used as a horse racing stadium. The road encircling what was once the Officers Club was the racetrack. The round portion of the old O'Club building was used to place bets and to gain admission. During World War II the area was used by the Japanese Imperial Army to train and bivouac troops. After VJ day on 15 August 1945, the first occupation troops were on the compound. Upon the withdrawal of the occupation force from the area, the American Consulate and the United Nations Organization utilized the facilities.

The Dispensary on Camp Hialeah provided minimum medical care for personnel stationed in the Pusan area. The Dispensary referred personnel to the 121st General Hospital in Seoul for other than minimum traetment. The dental clinic on Camp Hialeah provided a wide range of dental care, but no orthodontist was available.

The installation was like any little town in the US and was considered a remote (hardship) tour. Most military personnel were nonccommand sponsored on one year tours. Some senior NCO and Officers were on command sponsored 2 year tours. Camp Hialeah was a small, friendly, close-knit community that offered most quality of life services families seek at a larger military community. The installation had a good working relationship with members of all services, as well as, ROK military components.

Under the Combined Forces Command (CFC), US Forces Korea (USFK), its MACOM was the Eighth US Army (EUSA). Camp Hialeah was responsible for base operations, supply and service support to all units and activities within the 19th Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM) under Area IV, 20th Area Support Group. It had a critical logistical role in reception and staging operations within EUSA. Camp Hialeah participated in numerous annual Korea-wide military exercises each year including FOAL Eagle, Courageous Channel, RSO&I and Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL). The community also hosted visiting US Navy personnel from ships at Pusan ports of call.

Though small in size, it served as a primary receiving point for materiel, equipment, supplies and goods to US bases in the ROK and was one of the primary Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) routes for US personnel in and out of the ROK. Camp Hialeah supported tenant units that included the Pusan Storage Facility, the largest (cold) storage facility within US Forces Korea for supplies and goods to commissaries and exchanges Korea-wide, the 61st Chemical Company, the 552nd Military Police Company and the 4th Quartermaster Detachment (Airborne), largest in the Pacific region. Other tenant activities supported by Camp Hialeah include personnel of Air Force units at the state-of-the-art Combat Ready Contingency Hospital, 25th Transportation Company; the Communications unit and the AMC Terminal at Kimhae; the 837th US Army Trans Bn receiving point for Household Goods and POVs; Transportation Motor Pool; Defense Contract Management Command-Kimhae; Military Sealift Command Ops, US Navy; 74th Signal Company; Defense Reutilization Management Operations, largest in the Pacific area; Chejudo Recreation Center; 72nd Ordnance Battalion; C Company, 168th Medical Battalion; 106th Med Det; Criminal Investigations Division; Navy Office of Special Investigations; Air Force Office of Special Investigations; 665th Medical (Dental); 524th Military Intelligence; Morale, Welfare & Recreation; 1st Signal Brigade; and the 154th Medical Detachment.

Initial US contact with Korea was on 4 May 1880. Commander of the USS Ticonderoga, Rear Admiral Robert W. Schufeldt, arrived with his party to negotiate the Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation with Korean officials. Since the signing over 115 years ago, the port of Pusan has had an important role in trade with the US and other countries and has played a strategic role in the defense of the country.

During the 36-year Japanese occupation of Korea, relations with the US ceased, then resumed at the end of World War II with the liberation of Korea on 15 August 1945. Under Japanese occupation, the present site of Camp Hialeah served as Imperial Army headquarters. US troops took command of Camp Hialeah on 17 September 1945 and remained until the end of 1946. Control of the installation passed to the US Consulate and the UN until they were evacuated at the outbreak of the Korean conflict.

US troops regained command of Camp Hialeah when the Korean War began, following a UN. resolution to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK). The 24th Infantry Division landed on the peninsula in Pusan in early July and the 8609th Replacement Depot operated at Camp Hialeah. Pusan was and remained the principal terminal for receiving and shipping military supplies and troops. Through its many reorganizations over the past 40 years, it has developed into the best logistical base in the ROK.

Pusan was a critical strategic and logistical staging area during the Korean conflict. North Korea tried to overtake Pusan by out-flanking Allied Forces defending the Pusan Perimeter. By 5 September 1950, the North held most of the peninsula, except for an Allied Forces beachhead around the Pusan Perimeter.

General Douglas MacArthur commanded the Allied Forces and executed the amphibious assault landing at Inchon on 16 September 1950, changing the course of battle. By the end of September 1950, Allied Forces advanced from the Pusan perimeter to the 38th parallel.

Pusan port facilities were under the control of the US military to handle the enormous support requirements of the fighting forces. After the Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, most of the port facilities were turned over to the ROK government, except for Pier 6 and Pier 8, which were controlled by the Pusan Storage Facility and the 837th US Army Trans Battalion. Camp Hialeah was used to house troops of the Korean Communications Zone. With acquisition of additional property over the next several years, Hialeah was enlarged to its present size and used to permanently house US Military personnel. Personnel stationed at Camp Hialeah participated in all the major conflicts in the Far East.

From the Korean conflict in 1950, Camp Hialeah had been reorganized under different commands and missions. They included the 8069th Replacement Depot, the Korean Communications Zone, Pusan Military Post, Pusan Sub Area Command, Pusan Area Command, Pusan Base Command, 2d Trans Group, Pusan Support Activity, US Army Garrison-Pusan, 34th and 20th Support Groups. It is now under 19th Theater Area Command, Area IV, 20th Area Support Group.

On 17 September 1984, the US Army Garrison, Pusan was deactivated and the 34th Support Group, 19th Support Command, was activated with responsibilities for installation command, base operations and supply and service support to all units in Area VII. In 1986 and 1987, the 34th Support assignment of the 4th Quartermaster Detachment (Airborne), the Chejudo Training Center and the attachment of the Pusan Storage Facility to the group.

As part of the USFK reorganization program, the 34th Support Group moved to Yongsan, Seoul and the 20th Support Group in Taegu gained responsibility for Camp Hialeah and its support area effective 4 September 1990.

During the Persian Gulf Crisis, the 4th Quartermaster Detachment assigned to Camp Hialeah deployed to Turkey to airdrop supplies in Operation Provide Comfort. Subsequently, prompted by mounting doubts concerning the intent of the North Korean government to terminate its nuclear proliferation, the US Government dispatched the 23rd Support Group to off load more than 750 pieces of materiel at the port of Pusan in a multilevel, multifunction mission with the deployment of Patriot missiles to the ROK.

Originally, the post was distant from residential areas. As the city of Pusan grew it engulfed the installation and became the center of controversy, because it was prime real estate in central Pusan, which the ROK government wanted to have returned. Under the guidelines of the ROK-US agreements and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), comparable facilities that comply with US standards and infrastructure were required to ensure quality of life for US soldiers and families prior to installation relocation. The city of Pusan continued to press for relocation of Camp Hialeah and return of the current real estate to the city. While various sites had been proposed, none met the requirements for relocation per ROK-US agreement. As part of the Land Partnership Plan in 2002, Camp Hialeah was included as one of several facilities to be turned over to the ROK between 2002 and 2011. The plan was later accelerated and Camp Hialeah was returned closed in August 2006. Preperations then began to fully turn over the facility to the ROK.

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