What is Camp Humphreys Called?
When you first get to Humphreys you are going to notice a discrepancy. Some call it Camp Humphreys, some call it USAG Humphreys and when you talk to the locals they keep saying K-6. So, what should you call the soon to be biggest post in the Asia-Pacific region?
What do Americans and English speakers call Camp Humphreys?
The official designation is United States Army Garrison Humphreys aka USAG Humphreys. This is the name you’ll hear during briefings, videos, newspaper articles and in other public media. The acronym is pronounced by saying each letter so it will be “Yoo Es Ay Gee Humphreys.” For us lazy people (that’s me!) we say “Yoo-Sag Humphreys.” And for even lazier people (Wow, that’s me too!) it’s just Humphreys.
Obviously, Humphreys is more commonly known as Camp Humphreys and this is the name most English speakers say. The base was renamed Camp Humphreys in 1962 in honor of a helicopter pilot who died in a crash and this is the name everyone knows.
When life gets tough here, some people will lovingly refer to this base as The Hump. It’s very casual and may be used in private conversations but I wouldn’t use it with anyone of rank or in official memos.
What do Koreans and non-English speakers call Camp Humphreys?
There you are, time to get a cab and you are in the middle of the city about 15 minute from base. You are terrible at Korean so you give it a try and say “Camp Humphreys.” The blank stare the driver gives back to you stops your heart and instead of pulling out the translation app you run for the nearest coffee shop and try to phone a friend to get you.
Many Koreans only know the American bases as their original airstrip designations. So:
Seoul Airbase: K-16
Even if you can’t speak Korean, you will hear the words K-6 and K-16 pop up in conversations clear as day.
Camp Humphreys is also referred to as Anjeong-ri Budae 안정리 부대. This means ‘the military in Anjeong-ri.”
I was chatting with a Korean friend of mine during the Paengseong Language Exchange and I gave her all the names of Camp Humphreys and I asked her which one she knew better. She didn’t seem to understand my question so we found someone who was better at both languages and they clarified it for her. After she asked a few questions you could see her eyes brighten up as she finally understood; I was asking her about the exact same location not different places. She had lived in the area for years and had no idea that all of these names were the exact same base. It was humbling to understand how little is known about the Americans living here in Korea just as we know so little about them. Interactions like this only give me more reason to encourage cultural exchanges between the base and the locals.
The bus stop right in front of base was only recently given the name Camp Humphreys this spring thanks to a request by the Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation. Before that it was only known as K-6 Jeong Mun 정문 and English speakers trying to find the base for the first time had to take a quick guess that the walls with concertina wire on top were probably the Hump.
Conclusion: Then which one should I use in conversations?
Judge your audience and pick the name that you feel is most appropriate but really it doesn’t matter. If you find your Korean friends are giving you blank stares, try K-6 or Anjeong-ri Budae. Try not to call it The Hump in front of the commander and you’re good to go. I just hope you have enough information now to not run screaming from the taxi driver and to get that ride home.
Did I miss a name? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.