CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED) supports the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), United Nations Command (UNC), and the Combined Forces Command (CFC) by responding to peninsula-wide requirements for construction, engineering and field force engineering capabilities during contingency exercises and operations.
The district is expected to rapidly transition from armistice to wartime operations. Also, the district is to execute non-combatant evacuation operation and contingency construction list projects throughout the Korea theater of operations (KTO) to enable reception, staging, on-ward movement, and integration of deploying combat forces and support USFK operations.
Unit readiness is essential to operations within the Far East District, and is a vital aspect of the district’s mission.
“Readiness here on the peninsula is preparing for contingency operations, and engaging with the workforce to get them to understand what would happen,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Clevenger, deputy of district operations. “It [readiness] affects the rest of USACE because I believe it’s a bit more involved than what other operations look like today, so the rest of USACE tries to help in case that type of mission would come to fruition.”
The FED has two select groups of personnel, known as emergency essential civilian (EEC) personnel and mission essential civilian (MEC) personnel. The EEC personnel are comprised of Department of the Army civilians (DAC), whereas MEC is comprised of Korean Local-National employees.
“During contingency operations the EEC and MEC will stay here and conduct mission essential functions,” said Clevenger. “We provide basic military tasks and skills training for these personnel twice-a-year.”
The district operations team ensures that the EEC and MEC personnel are trained in accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 350-1. They are required to maintain and understand technical tasks such as field first aid, and unit chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) Defense.
Personnel not assigned as EEC or MEC also serve an important role and must ensure they are up to date with their readiness as well. Non-essential emergency personnel must maintain documentation for themselves and their family and be prepared to leave their home and process through non-emergency essential operations (NEO) at a moment’s notice.
“Neo wardens play an important role during contingency operations and being able to process non-emergency essential personnel to leave the peninsula,” said Clevenger. “It’s important for everyone to know the NEO process.”
Clevenger went on to state that the more familiar personnel are on the district’s mission, they become more involved, and always willing to share input on how things could be better, it will help the organization’s readiness overall.