By Lee Chi-dong
PYEONGTAEK, Gyeonggi Province, July 11 (Yonhap) -- A key unit of the U.S. forces in South Korea opened its new headquarters at the sprawling Camp Humphreys garrison Tuesday, as the base relocation is accelerating after a decade of delay.
It marked the end of the Eighth Army's 64-year presence at the Yongsan base in central Seoul and the start of a footprint at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, a port city some 70 kilometers south of Seoul.
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has been expanding Humphreys under a 2004 deal with South Korea, turning it into an operational hub for the 28,500 troops.
"The $10.7-billion-dollar project dramatically increased the size of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, making it the largest U.S. Army garrison overseas in the Department of Defense," Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, commander of the Eight Army, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "Undoubtedly, the installation is the crown jewel of overseas installations in the Department of Defense."
In the ceremony, a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of Gen. Walton H. Walker, a Korean War hero, was unveiled. It was moved to the Eighth Army's new home from the Yongsan Garrison.
Vandal pointed out there were more than 170 American military camps and other installations across South Korea in the early 2000s. The USFK has been closing many of the bases, including those near the inter-Korean border, as part of the relocation project.
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