Are y’all tired of my South Korea posts yet? There is still so much about our time stationed at Camp Humphreys that we still want to share – not the least of which is the fact that I’m still working on how the heck we can get back there…but I digress. Never in a million years did I think I’d visit – let alone live – in South Korea, but we spent two years there, and it definitely left an impression on our hearts and souls. We wanted to share a little bit about what you should know about Camp Humphreys, South Korea if you’re considering it for a duty station, have orders, or are just looking for information about your next military home.
Fast Facts About Camp Humphreys South Korea
Did you know that Camp Humphreys is the largest overseas (OCONUS) U.S. military base in the world? If not, now you do. Camp Humphreys is like a town unto itself. If you’re familiar with other big popular duty stations like JBLM or Fort Hood, it’s big. But Camp Humphreys is actually bigger. Located in Pyeongtaek-si about 45-60 minutes from Seoul, it’s hailed as the “Army’s Home in Korea.”
Camp Humphreys is home to the Army’s most active OCONUS airfield and features an enormous central airfield right in the middle of post. Soldiers at Camp Humphreys work side-by-side with ROK personnel and KATUSAs to accomplish missions, and families have most modern amenities featured on stateside bases right on post. We often commented that Camp Humphreys feels like a city unto itself, nestled right within the farming region of Pyeongtaek.
What You Should Know About Camp Humphreys Housing
Usually, when you PCS to a new duty station, you can get on the housing waitlist or simply choose to rent or buy off post. Things in South Korea are a little different. At Camp Humphreys, you generally have no say in the matter, and you can’t do anything until you get there. Once there and inprocessed, your service member can apply for housing.
Housing on post is assigned by rank, much like other duty stations. However, if the housing for your service member’s rank is over 95% capacity at the time of your application, you will be given the option to live off post or wait. We chose to live off post since my husband’s promotable (within 2 months of arrival) rank was over 95% capacity. Housing on post is much like the rest of Korea – high rise tower living. The bonuses to living on post, however, include US 120V outlets in all rooms and easy access to the post schools.
Are There Schools on Camp Humphreys?
Yes! Camp Humphreys plays host to four schools. There are two elementary schools – Humphreys West and Humphreys Central – and there is also Humphreys Middle School and Humphreys High School. The elementary schools are zoned, so certain places off post will be at West, and other areas will be at Central. If living in the immediate general vicinity of Camp Humphreys, there is bus access off post. Unlike American schools though, these kids ride bougie – in coach buses!
Is Camp Humphreys a Good Duty Station?
I always say that a duty station is what you make of it. I honestly disliked most aspects of JBLM, but we made the most of it. Camp Humphreys has its quirks. The commissary is out of a lot of those creature comfort foods from home, but lots of local businesses around Camp Humphreys offer them now, so it makes things easier. Camp Humphreys, as a whole, is a good base. The work environment can be challenging for some, and Humphreys has its own unique challenges with many servicemembers being there on unaccompanied tours.
That said, while each base has its own unique issues with Humphreys being no exception, the kids and I loved it there. Humphreys was a small part of our Korea experience. If you go to Korea and gauge the country off of Camp Humphreys, you’ll hate it. If you get out there and live more locally though, chances are your experience will be very different.
Fast Facts About Camp Humphreys
Mailing: You will receive an APO whilst in Korea (an Army Post Office box). You’ll receive a zip code like you would in the US – ours was 96273. Shipping from Amazon is slow but free to ship, and many companies ship to APOs, so you don’t lose that convenience.
Area: Bases in South Korea are given an “area.” Camp Humphreys is located in Area 3.
Driving: Assuming you have a US driver’s license and are command sponsored, you can get your Korean driver’s license. And yes, it’s very easy. They drive on the same side as us 😉
Currency: Korea uses the KRW, and you can exchange money off post easily in the Ville, or you can draw KRW from the ATMs on post for a bit of an upcharge. Most rents are paid in cash if not done through a service like GI Bill Pay, so you’ll get quite used to it.
Amenities: Camp Humphreys has the normal on-base amenities like the commissary, PX, bowling alley, movie theatre, waterpark (currently closed for repairs), and more. There is also a Texas Roadhouse, but I recommend dining off post as much as possible. Trust me – it’s worth it!
NKorea: I get a lot of questions about whether we worried about North Korea. Honestly? Not that much. We had the normal NEO drills, but beyond that, if our Korean neighbors weren’t worried, we weren’t worried either.
Air Quality: Yes, the air quality sucks – especially in the winter. It’s one of the biggest bummers in all of South Korea. That being said, our asthmatic son did better there than he’s done thus far here in Alaska. So, take that as you may.