This has been one of the most messed up experiences of my life. This entire move to South Korea has gone from being a good thing (on paper, in my mind) to being a nightmare (in real life). We were supposed to be at Yongsan, in Seoul. There is a good medical facility there, lots of things for the family to do, English speaking taxi drivers, housing is all off post and there is a good transportation system, huge commissary, decent PX, etc. I was thrilled when we got there and discovered all there was and equally disappointed when the Army decided to send us to Camp Humphreys.
Everyone I talked to said, “You know Yongsan is closing down in two years and they are moving everyone to Camp Humphreys. They are really building things up down there.” I replied, “Well, we are only here for two years, so I would have like to be here, at Yongsan for those two years.”
I felt even worse when we actually arrived here at Camp Humphreys. Sure, they built housing, but it is already full. That’s right, they want to move everyone here in the next two years and they already don’t have enough housing. The commissary is tiny, it will never support the projected 17,000 troops and family members and civilians they anticipate living here. The PX is even smaller. In fact, there is one row of toys, so everybody is getting the same thing for Christmas.
There are obvious problems with the military and their definition of necessity. There is no emergency medical care here at Camp Humphreys, if you have a valid emergency you are sent to an off post hospital about 15 minutes away. But, no worries, they did build the Splish & Splash Water Park. So all those families will have something to do during the summer. If you need to see a specialist, you’ll have to figure out how to get to a civilian provider as far away as Seoul.
Because there is no more room in on post housing, we get to live off post. The Army expects us to find off post housing within 10 days. Our car won’t be here for at least another month and we can’t get a driver’s license because we haven’t been able to attend the newcomer’s meeting because we can’t sign up the kids for childcare because they don’t have any appointments for a week. When we do move off post, we’ll have to take a taxi everywhere because there is no convenient transit system in this small town.
It seems like the military really doesn’t want people to bring their families. They make things extremely difficult for families. Maybe if we had sent the husband to deal with all of this before us, it would have been an easier transition. We’ve also found out they lost our unaccompanied baggage. Nobody knows where it is and they are waiting to hear from the movers back in Colorado. There are no doctor’s appointments for almost one month and the referral to a civilian oncologist could take more than a month or two after that! And yet, somehow, the military believes this is quality care and they are going to be able to support 17,000 troops with about 4,500 families.
I’m not super smart, but maybe, instead of building a water park, they should have built more medical care, a larger commissary, more housing. Maybe they should work on their sponsorship program, because we were never assigned a sponsor, so we’ve been doing this all on our own with no support. In the 12 and a half years I’ve been married to a soldier, I’ve never felt so neglected and put off by the Army. Multiple deployments, moving around the country, navigating Tricare stateside, all super easy compared to this nightmare of a move. They’ve made it very clear that families have no place over here and they are going to make it as difficult as possible for any families that are here.
All that being said, I hope things get better. I hope my car gets here soon, so I can get around without waiting for a taxi or a shuttle. I hope I can get involved with some groups so I can meet people here. I have nothing but good to say about Korea. The people are super nice and friendly. They’ve been helpful and welcoming. It’s too bad the Army is so disconnected with reality that they are screwing up what could be a good experience for people. I’m gonna be positive and optimistic from here on out. I will be positive, I will be positive, I will be positive.