On December 11, 1993 NSGA Pyong Taek, South Korea Republic of Korea was officially disestablished.
The U.S. Naval Security Group Detachment (NSGD) in Pyong Taek, Korea was officially established on March 1, 1972 at Camp Humphreys, Zoekler Station, Republic of Korea. The activity was a Detachment of NSGA Misawa, Japan and was commanded by an Officer-in-Charge, LT Raymond J. Biziorek. The mission assigned to LT Biziorek was to organize and bring on-line a fully functional NSGD, to perform both High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) and collection activity in support of Commander Naval Forces Korea. The original “ships company” was made up of a small group of 16-20 Cryptologic Technicians (CTs), many having served together at NSGA Hakata, Japan who were rotated in from various Naval Security Group stations.
Located on the Army Security Agency (ASA) compound, the NSGD was located on a desolate part of the base, separated geographically from all other base activities, approximately 1/2 mile inside the main gate down a lonely perimeter road with only a small Mess Hall and Enlisted Club immediately located outside of the ASA compound gate. The compound itself was fenced off and gated, consisting of a small grouping of barracks, an Administrations building, a power plant and an Operations Center. The Navy personnel were assigned to one barrack originally, with the exception of LT Biziorek. Eventually, as the Detachment grew the senior Non-Commission Officers (NCOs) were relocated to a separate barrack sharing the facility with senior Army NCO’s. By March, 1973 the Navy contingent had grown to approximately 65 CTs.
The Quarterdeck and Administration Offices were set up in a small area of the Army ASA Administration Building, where the O.I.C. and Detachment Chief maintained working offices. Other than the Quarterdeck and Enlisted Barracks, all other compound facilities were shared equally with our ASA hosts (Op Center, Mess Hall, Enlisted Club, and of course – the outdoor basketball court which doubled as a formation point for inspections, etc.).
The Operations Center was antiquated at its best. The “R” branch section was located in a single room that consisted of one high HFDF position, several R-390 positions and one teletype position. The HFDF position looked old enough to be something out of a “B” rated sci-fi movie from the early 1950’s, and it performed accordingly – when it was working at all.
Liberty and Navy Softball:
By John Hughes:
Our work was difficult, performed under difficult conditions, but we relished the challenge and performed admirably as a team and as individuals. While we had to share our workspace with ASA personnel, our off time was spent many times as a group, in the Village of Anjong Ri. With all of us having been granted gangway liberty, from the get go, it was not long before the ASA guys and even the other Army personnel on base were able to pick up on this, which caused us some problems but nothing we didn’t overcome. We formed a Navy Softball team, and shortly thereafter LT Biziorek was invited by the base commander, Colonel “Big Fred” Best (son of a Navy Corpsman) to enter our team in the Camp Humphreys softball league. Little did he or we know at the time, our team would wind up winning the Camp Championship and “Big Fred” would have to present us with the winning the trophy. I have always looked to that achievement as a source of pride, knowing that our Detachment of 65 men defeated the best teams that the 5,000 man Army base could muster. GO NAVY – BEAT ARMY! The final game, to decide the championship, was surrealistic.
It was played at the main baseball park, with lights, stands, fences and dugouts. The fans were a mixture of Army and Navy personnel, dependents, bargirls from the Village and civilian base workers. What a spectacle. A vision worthy of a video camera today, recording the event for all posterity and great laughs too. There we were, the Navy team decked out in our sky blue and orange team shirts, emblazoned with NAVSECGRUDET on the front, our names and numbers on the back and a small “Top Hat Logo” on the sleeve (supplied by Mr. Lee, owner of the Top Hat Club in the Village), in our denim uniform bell bottoms, finished off with boon-dockers. The Army was fashioned in real uniforms of Black and Gold, with matching socks, cleats, hats, etc.
Well, in the end, thank goodness looks didn’t matter; we won the game and stole the day, and partied with our Army counterparts through the night, with the Army buying the beer. It was a fine ending to a great season and went a long way to bonding us with our Army hosts. “Big Fred”, shortly after this day, asked LT Biziorek if he would TAD three of our team (me included at first base) to play on his Base team, entered into the 8th Army Softball championship to be held in Taegu. It was done and the next thing the three of us knew, we were in Army uniforms, insignia and all, playing softball at Taegu! That was some trip, flying down in the Army’s 45th H-2 helicopters and staying for the few days before we got eliminated. Outside of “Big Fred” and LT Biziorek, no other brass to my knowledge was aware of it in either service.
The Navy operations at Pyong Taek, Korea ran as a detachment for the next eight years until June 13, 1980 when the Naval Security Group Activity, Pyong Taek was officially established. There were many changes to the operation over the years and on December 11, 1993 the NSGA was officially disestablished.
Pyong Taek Air Field was first constructed in 1939 by the Japanese Navy, during their occupation of Korea, as a supply depot using conscripts as coolie labor. The 20,000 “conscriptees” were taken from the local Korean population and housed in prison camp-like conditions until the work was completed. The airstrip was added during WWII for basic flight training by the Japanese and known as Pyong Taek Aerodrome. During the Post-war U.S. occupation of Korea, the U.S. allowed Pyong Taek Air Field to fall into a state of disrepair. Korea had no Air Force to speak of, besides Japanese aircraft hastily gathered at Kimpo Airfield in Seoul. There was no constabulary (forerunner to the ROK Army) established at the time. Pyong Taek Air Field was noted on maps as an emergency landing strip. After the Americans pulled out of Korea in 1949, the airfield remained abandoned. The local population stripped anything of value from the base. Metal was salvaged for resale. The airfield ceased to exist.
In 1950, the North Koreans launched their attack on the South. At first the primary base for the USAF was at Suwon AB, which had been built up during the Military Occupation years. The construction of Osan AB started in June 1952. As a minor airfield, Pyong Taek Air Field was given a K-number of “K-6” and the dirt strip was initially used by the 6147th Tactical Control Group. The air field was rapidly upgraded by the 841st Engineering Aviation Battalion, a unit working on Osan AB — with perforated steel planking to create a landing strip.
After the Korean War, the camp reverted to a support base. In 1962, the airfield was renamed Camp Humphreys, in honor of CWO Benjamin K. Humphreys, of the 6th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter), who died in a helicopter accident near Osan-Ni, Kyung-Gi Do, Korea. Prior to this, K-6 was considered a “sub-post” for units in Seoul.
The Humphreys District Command was activated in 1964 as a separate installation command of the Eighth U.S. Army. Later it was designated as the 23rd Direct Support Group which provided all direct support; supply and maintenance; and storage of all conventional ammunition in Korea. In 1974, with the activation of the 19th Support Brigade, the unit was redesignated as U.S. Army Garrison, Camp Humphreys.
In 1974, with the activation of the 19th Support Brigade, Camp Humphreys was redesignated as U.S. Army Garrison, Camp Humphreys. USAG-CH was still basically responsible for all affairs affecting personnel stationed at Camp Humphreys, but the 19th Support Command was responsible for all support activities vital to the Eighth Army Command. Those units formerly reporting to the 23rd Direct Support Group reported to the 19th Support Command in Taegu. Only the basic functions remained with USAF-Camp Humphreys. Later, the 23rd Direct Support Group and 19th Support were renamed 23rd Support Group and 19th Theater Army Area Command.
Camp Humphreys is currently a component of the 19th Theater Army Area Command (19th TAACOM) and houses three major units all commanded by Colonels. The U.S. Army Support Activity Area III was established on June 17, 1996. The Support Activity is responsible for the peacetime support mission for Camp Humphreys, Camp Long and Camp Eagle by preparing for tactical operations, and safeguarding personnel, facilities and property. Prior to the activation of the Support Activity, those responsibilities fell to the 23rd Support Group. During a reorganization process, the 23rd Support Group was redesignated the 23rd Area Support Group responsible for the wartime support mission for Area III. The 6th Cavalry Brigade stood up its headquarters at Camp Humphreys, Korea on July 24, 1996. The 6th Cavalry Brigade provides the warfighting capabilities of the AH-64 Apache for U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) and the Eighth U.S. Army.
The Naval Security Group Detachment at Pyong Taek was located in the 177th ASA (Army Security Agency) compound and shared the same OPS building with the U.S. Army Security Agency (USASA).
Previously known as the 330th ASA Operations Company, the 177th USASA Operations Company was created in July, 1957, and was headquartered in a compound located at Mia Ri. The location was alongside the Main Supply Route (MSR), the road between Seoul and Uijongbu. The compound was located just south of the Uijongbu checkpoint, at the northern edge of Seoul. Today the place is called Mia Dong and is about five miles inside the Seoul city limits. The 177th was the primary location for Morse code intercept operations in Korea. The unit also did direction finding. By the summer of 1958, the 177th had grown to more than 500 people with about 32 men to a hooch.
The inexorable growth of the city of Seoul was, by that time, encroaching upon the compound at Mia Ri to such an extent that the location was no longer suitable as an ASA monitoring site. A decision was made to relocate the 177th to K6 (Pyong Taek), well to the south, and work began on erecting an antenna farm and other necessities, so that operations could be moved. Preparations of the new facilities at Pyong Taek (known as K6 and later known as Camp Humphreys) were completed in the spring of 1960, and The 177th ASA moved from Mia Ri to K6. The 177th compound at Mia Ri was abandoned by the U.S. Army, and returned to the Koreans. The compound and all structures were dismantled.
The 177th was the largest single ASA operations company in Korea. The antenna field at Pyong Taek was four acres in size. Everyone lived in Quonset huts and operated out of tactical vans backed up to the operations building. The OPS building was an H configuration, and located on one side of the Camp Humphreys base. The soldiers were housed in five two-story concrete block buildings, with two men to a room. They shared a mess hall with the Signal Corps and had a barber shop and a small PX. There was a library, movie theater, USO and a large PX on the other side of Camp Humphreys.
The U.S. Army 508th Group headquarters was located in Camp Spade at Yongdung-po. From its formation in 1957, until January 1, 1962; the 508th Group included an operations section, which was an operational detachment of the 177th ASA Company. In January 1962, the operations section was incorporated into the 508th Group. In December of 1967, the 508th Group was redesignated as USASA Group Korea. In 1969, the 508th Group moved to Camp Humphreys and Camp Spade abandoned. After the move, the 508th Group headquarters combined with the 177th USA Company to form USASA Field Station (USASFS) Korea. The unit designation remained USASFS Korea, until the Field Station deactivated in 1976.