In 2004 Camp Howze closed and preperations were made to transfer ownership of the facility to the Republic of Korea. This tranfer was completed in 2005. Mention of this shift was made in US-ROK Land Partnership Plan in 2002, when the expected date of closure was 2006.
Camp Howze was located on 149 acres a few miles outside the town of Kumchon. Camp Howze was prominently featured in Larry Bond's novel "Red Phoenix." This techno thriller was a military/political suspense fiction about the second Korean war. The primary purpose of the facility was to house the Engineer Brigade Headquarters and the 44th Engineer Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division. The population of the camp was approximately 700, with 450 of that being US Military personnel and the remaining 250 being civilians employed by the Department of the Army.
Camp Howze was also located approzimately 30 minutes from the Peace Village of Panmunjom where the Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953 to stop the fighting of the Korean War. Camp Howze was near the city of Pyokche, established by the Spanish Ambassador in 1900. It also had an active Hispanic Cultural center. Outside the city was a site of Korean royal tombs. Its climate features included, on average, summers between 85 and 90 oF, winters between 26 and 45 oF, and 40-48" of rain during a rainy season between July and August.
After being called a Headquarters compound for many years, Camp Howze was named on 25 March 1960 in honor of Major General Robert L. Howze, Medal of Honor recipient and the 1st commander of the 1st Cavalry division from 1921-25. Special guest was Major General Hamilton Howze, then Chief of the US Army Advisory Group in Korea, son of Robert Howze.
Camp Howze was located in Bong Il Chong in the Paju City area. The historical villa and hundreds of years of the Cho family remains preserved at this estate near Howze. In the spring of 1953, the 1st Marine Division selected the Cho family estate as their Headquarters and command post in support of the Western Corridor defense. The Marines relocated the summer villa, but kept intact the pagoda and family grave. At the entrance to the valley, rice patties were converted into an attractive lake and where the villa had been, flagpoles and stone guards were placed. Tents and Quonset huts soon stood among the trees on the hills and upland of the valley.
The 24th Infantry Division, "Victory Division" replaced the 1st Marine Division in March 1955 and established its Headquarters at Howze in the Western Corridor. They arrived during a major program to improve living conditions that when the 1st Cavalry Division arrived all of the tents where gone. The 1st Cavalry Division replaced the 24th Infantry Division 2 years later in 1957. They filled in the lake to create a parade ground and called it Brown Field dedicated on 25 May 1959 in honor of PFC Melvin L. Brown, Company D, 8th Engineers, 1st Cavalry Division, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic actions on 4 September 1950. Along with the parade field, the camp landscape was further altered by constructing a gymnasium and theater. The next year the camp was renamed Camp Howze.
The 1st Cavalry had its Headquarters at Camp Howze for another 5 years until 1965, when it was redesignated as the 2nd Infantry Division. 11th Air Assault Division was redesignated the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) on 1 July 1965. The 1st Cavalry Division was enroute to Vietnam one month later and proved their airmobile operations effective.
2nd Infantry Division Headquarters remained at Camp Howze until March 1971 when it moved to Camp Casey as the 7th Infantry Division departed Casey. Camp Howze then became 3rd Brigade Headquarters until the Engineer Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division arrived in 1992. The 3rd Brigade was responsible for the security of the United Nations delegation at Panmunjom and for the security of the American sector of the Demilitarized Zone. On 1 October 1992, the 3rd Brigade was officially inactivated and the Engineer Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division placed their headquarters at Camp Howze.
In 1972, MSR 1, the major supply route running past Camp Howze was upgraded from a 2-lane gravel road to a 4-lane paved road. In 1975, several large pine trees were moved from Howze to a government park in Seoul. In 1977, the trees on top of the mountain were cut down and the mountaintop was leveled to make a ball field and to upgrade the helipad. The ball field was named for Major Barrett, one of the 2 officers killed in the historic Panmunjom axe murders.
A number of relics survived from the earlier years. The well and pagoda were still on post near the Brigade Headquarters. Brown Field was still near the gate and was the site of the 1st Marine Division lake and prewar villa. The villa stood where it was now as a monument to Brown. The Cho family grave was carefully preserved on the hillside to the right of the front gate. Many of the Quonset huts built by the 1st Marine Division were still in use. The Marine Chaplain had his office in building T-118, subsequently the camp's offices. The 1st Marine Division also constructed the stone wall in T-118. However, a modern barracks and new shopping and recreational facilities replaced older buildings all over Camp Howze.
Camp Howze was one of the 42 camps north of Seoul authorized Hardship Duty Pay of $150 per month as of 1 January 2001. The Hardship Duty Pay is paid to troops who are permanently assigned to areas where it is authorized or who serve 30 consecutive days of temporary duty in those areas. Several factors are considered in determining whether a location qualified for the pay: climate, physical and social isolation, sanitation, disease, medical facilities, housing, food, recreational and community facilities, political violence, harassment and crime. The extra pay provides meaningful financial recognition to troops assigned in areas where living conditions are substantially below US standards.
Army Community Service was not available. The 2nd Infantry Division's 17 installations operated on a hub system that gave Division soldiers access to services not available on their installations. Camp Howze was the hub in the Munsan area. A Housing Office, Education Center, and Family Employment Assistance were provided at Camp Howze. Family Quarters were not available. All but 76 of the Division's soldiers served one-year unaccompanied tours. All soldiers lived in on-post quarters.
Central Post Information
MWR Facilities Available:
- Recreation Center
- Bowling Center
- Outdoor Tennis/Basketball
- Officer's Club
- NCO/Enlisted Club
- Arts and Crafts
- Swimming Pool
AAFES Facilities Available:
- Post Exchange
- Air Line Ticket Office
- Tailor Shop
- Barber Shop
- Burger Bar
General Area Information
National Parks and Resorts: Tobong, Soyo and Surak Mountains are all in the area, as is the Songdu Resort. Also, there are many parks, resorts, historical sites and entertainment areas in Korea. Because of the country's size and excellent transortation system, all these sites are within a day's travel from anywhere in the Division area. On-post tour and travel offices, Morale, Welfare and Recreation offices, and the USO offer regular excursions.
Nearby Facilities and Places of Interest:
- Hunting = None nearby. Hunting available at Cheju-Do Island (320 miles away).
- ishing = None nearby. Fishing at Inchon (65 miles away).
- Skiing = None nearby.
- Swimming and Boating = No boating. On post swimming pools.
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