Mapping Yongsan Garrison and the Surroundings
A series of written correspondences between two GI's who never met in person describes raw images of Yongsan Garrison and Yongsan Area in the 60's and the 70's captured in their memories.
“I took this photo from Namsan Tower when I served in Yongsan garrison in 1969. The photo is looking towards Main Post and South Post and the Hand river at the back.” John Nowell
Note from John Nowell to Rich Kent: I looked at the photograph and have provided my comments about what I believe is indicated by the red numbers. However, I am a bit color-blind and could not see the #9. So, I don't have any idea about that location in the photo. Look at my comments below and see if you agree with what I have listed for those locations:
1. HQs, UNC/USFK/EUSA, bldg 2364;
2. Knight Field;
3. 8th Army Company HQs and mail room.;
4. Possibly your EM Barracks;
5. ??? Possibly a Mess Hall;
6. AAFES Townhouse Cafeteria (now a parking lot);
7. Snack Bar (now a parking lot);
8. Balboni Theater, bldg 2535 (now a parking lot);
9. I could not see #9???;
10. Officer’s Open Mess, bldg 4305 South Post (this bldg has been the HQs, for Yongsan Garrison since 1969 until the present time);
11. Lower Four Club located by Gate #7 (renumber as Gate #3), AKA Crossroads Club, (currently HQs, Marines Forces, Korea);
12. 8th US Army Golf Course (About 80% of this property returned to ROKG and is now used as Korea’s National Museum and Yongsan Family Park). About 20% of the Golf course as well as the Golf club bldg are still used by USFK;
13. Han River - Both the Hangang Mansion and Riverside Village were built on the north side of the Han River where many USFK/8th Army civilian employees lived beginning in October 1970;
14. Entrance to Itaewon or traffic circle where LTG Coulter's Statue was located. The statue was moved in February 1977 to allow for the construction of an underpass for a new road that went directly north to Namsan where tunnels 2 and 3 were constructed making easier travel from downtown Seoul to the new roads beside Yongsan Garrison Main and South Posts southward to Seocho-gu south of the Han River. Or, are you referring to something on South Post? Possibly the Japanese Prison?
Let me know if the above descriptions match what you think these locations are. Especially #s 5, 9 and 14. After you comment on them, I will confer with others who are still here and who may remember what those locations were well known for in the late 60s early 70s. I hope you find the legend for the numbers.
Note from Rich Kent to John Nowell: John I think you hit them pretty close. Here is what I wrote when I printed the photo Index from Rich Kent:
Note from John Nowell to Rich: I think we came to the same designations for the #s you posted. Your #10 for Civilian Dorms in front of your office were located on South Post through Gates 6 & 9. Bldg 4305, 2d floor was used as officer billets and perhaps some civilian billets. Department of Defense Dependent School (DODDS) teachers and some other female civilians lived in smaller bldgs adjacent to bldg 4305 as well. Single women and men civilians were authorized billets at that time and worked in a variety of positions. When I separated from service and became a Dept of the Army civilian as a GS3, GS4 and later a GS5 I was authorized a billet and at first had a bed in a three man hootch located on Main Post near the KMAG HQs Bldg.. Later, when I was promoted to GS7 (equivalent to a 2Lt) I was able to get an officer's billet on South Post just inside Gate #10 on the left hand side. Then in the summer of 1972, the Dept of the Army authorized Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) for all civilian personnel GS7 and above to live off-post. I then could afford to live in any house, apartment I liked. So, for many years I lived in a variety of places around Yongsan-gu and south of the Han River when new apartments were built there. It has been quite a ride, ha,ha. I still can't see the #9 on the photo, but yes the library was located at the corner of Knight Parade Field.
By the way, the library was moved into the old PX as a new PX was built down the hill from the AFKN Radio/TV station located north of the former PX.
If you have any other photos, please share them and I will try to identify what they are now.
Photo and Index Photo by Rich Kent stationed in Yongsan garrison in the Data Processing Center as a computer programmer in 1969.