Ms Leah Esper, wife of Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Army, visited US Army Garrison Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on January 9 to observe the facilities built to accommodate the relocation of US forces in regional areas south of Seoul.
“My husband and I care very much about the welfare, services and support available to soldiers and their families,” Esper said, “But there is nothing quite like seeing for ourselves and talk to the people who use these services. That’s why we visit facilities around the world. We’re here to help find sensible ways to improve and expand this support.
Esper visited the $ 63 million Army-Air Force Exchange Service Mall, built to support a population expected to exceed 40,000 once all US forces in Korea will have completed the move within the next year. This population doubled this summer with the relocation of the Eighth Army headquarters from its former home in Seoul.
“I was very impressed with the facilities available here,” she said. “I think it’s vital that we provide families overseas a touch of home and these facilities do just that.”
Esper was also in Korea to hear the concerns of the soldier and his family and take suggestions for improvement. She joined her husband for a public session with members of the family preparation group and soldiers.
“I know after speaking to families here and hearing the concerns raised at the town hall, that the Child Development Center is very important,” she said. “The need to speed up the process of hiring child caregivers is critical, and we will do everything we can to improve the system. “
Esper then visited Camp Humphreys CDC which provides daily care to children of troops stationed at Camp Humphreys.
Esper toured the family living areas on site where she saw high rise apartments as well as plans for housing areas under construction.
She also experienced Korean culture. Esper attended a performance of “Nong-ak”, a performance exploring the traditional Korean drum, the “Jang-gu”. She tasted foods such as Bibimbap, Bulgogi, and Dduk (Korean rice cake) at Han Ra KATUSA Snack Bar. She also visited an organization that helps foreigners adapt to local society.
“Sometimes living abroad can be a little intimidating and resources like the Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation really show how enthusiastic the Korean people are about helping integrate our soldiers and families. into the rich culture of Korea. “
Eighth Army Home Page
Army.mil: Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper
Official Facebook page
Photos on Flickr