Home | Pyong Taek Intro

NSGDet/NSGA Pyong Taek, Korea 1972
Narrative from John Hughes


The Detachment was formed as a duty station early in 1972*, under the command of NSGA Misawa. I arrived
in March of that year, shortly after the first Navy personnel arrived in either January or February. CTRC Duane E. Leifur
assisted the first O.I.C., Lt. Raymond J. Biziorek in setting up the detachment and he reported to Captain March,
the C.O., NSGA, Misawa. At some point, well after all the original ships company rotated out,
the Detachment was upgraded to a separate command and assigned its own C.O. The original Ships Company
consisted of between 16-20 CT's, many having served together at Hakata, Japan, immediately preceding their
orders to Korea. Some, like myself, came from other NSG duty stations throughout the Pacific. The mission
assigned to Lt. Biziorek was to organize and bring on-line a fully functional NAVSECGRU Detachment, to
perform both HFDF and collection activity in support of COMNAVFOR Korea. We were situated at an Army
Security Agency (ASA) compound, located on Camp Humphreys, Anjong Ri, Pyong Taek, Republic of Korea.
The ASA compound was located on a desolate part of the base, separated geographically from all other base
activity, roughly - 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 Admin building, Power Plant and an Ops Center. The Navy
personnel were assigned to one barrack originally, with the exception of Lt. Biziorek. Eventually, as the
Detachment grew the senior N.C.O.'s were relocated to a separate barrack, sharing the facility with senior Army
N.C.O.'s. In my stay with the Detachment, which ended in March 1973, the Navy contingent had grown to
approximately 65 men. The Quarterdeck and Admin 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 Op Center was antiquated, at its best, with the ASA guys saying it had been
established in the early '50's right after the Korean War truce. I worked in the "R" branch section, where in a
single room we had both our one HFDF unit and several R-390 Units set up. We had one Teletype in the room,
and other than that each CT branch had their own work areas, to enforce the "need-to-know" rule. The HFDF
Unit looked old enough to be something out of a "B" rated sci-fi flix from the early '50's and it performed
accordingly, when it was working at all. Since I had come from Net Control, and worked solely HFDF since
leaving "A" school, I was assigned the HFDF duties on my watch. On a rare occasion, when a shipmate was at
sick call or when the HFDF equipment was down, I did man an R-390 for collection purposes. My code taking
was a bit rusty for ongoing collection work, but I did prevail and believe I contributed to the overall effort in an
adequate fashion. I can tell you, watching my fellow "R" branchers in action was a sight to behold. Professional
and experienced from prior duty stations (all original ships company, including the senior N.C.O.'s were in their
final year of enlistment at the time or on their final hitch before retirement). We were working a standard
2-2-2&80 schedule, but it wasn't long before Chief Leifur realized that too much time off was not "healthy" for
many different reasons, with Anjong Ri so close by. So, in short order we all went over to a 1-1-1&24, and it
remained that way for my tour. 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 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.

What fun we had in our off time! The ASA guys had "Duffy's", as their hangout; we had the "Top Hat Club",
Mr. Lee proprietor. Other than an "almost" fight, early on, with the 45th helicopter group, broken up by MP's
and SP's (to this day I believe Chief Leifur tipped them off by the way, thank you Chief) we got along very well
with all the Army units. Some great, lighter moments of my year at Pyong Taek, included the following

  • After procurement of an Army Jeep (M-151), the Detachment had it repainted off base in the Village, to
    Navy Grey, but maintained the Army vehicle numbers. To further give it our Navy identity, the
    Detachment logo was painted into the wheel well, much to the chagrin of "Big Fred" Best, the Camp
    C.O. But, after searching Army regulations, they could not find anything prohibiting the paint color we
    chose and so it stayed Navy Grey!
  • Unauthorized modification to two rooms on the first floor of the enlisted barracks, which included the
    construction of a wet bar, lounge facilities with TV, and a Screen Door to the back yard.
  • Unauthorized completion of a cement patio, to go with the new screen door into the wet bar/lounge, with
    accompanying picnic table, benches, and assorted chairs for relaxation. We also made a BBQ, fashioned
    from a 50 gal. Drum, cut in half and welded onto metal legs.
  • Hosting of a Detachment "Pig Roast", held on the newly finished patio, with invited guests from the
    Top Hat Club and ASA.
  • Procurement of and placement of a Yardarm and anchors, taken from a naval facility in Pusan, placed
    in front of our enlisted barracks, proudly flying our nation's colors and the Navy ensign!
  • Introduction of burgundy berets, with Detachment logo, worn proudly by a contingent from our
    Detachment visiting COMNAVFOR Korea, and receiving an approving nod of our unauthorized covers
    by the admiral in charge. Little did he know that they were totally unauthorized!
  • And who could forget the 21st birthday celebration, for a beloved shipmate, who will remain nameless
    at this time (he knows who he is), held at the "Brown-Door"! What a night to remember.
  • The ride back from liberty in Seoul, minus various uniform parts, in the back of the deuce-half, and then
    the look on the MP when we all stood and saluted him as we proceeded through the main gate!
  • And oh yes, how could I almost forget, the championship softball team picture, appearing in the Camp
    Humphreys Newsletter, with the Army guys missing our own Frank "Zappa" Moceri, exposing for all the
    world to see, "little zappa and its two friends" proudly in the front row!
  • The Christmas USO show at Osan AFB, with Bob Hope. Remember the sign "CLAP FOR HOPE", he
    laughed out loud when he saw it but told us he could not put it in the film footage for the folks back
    home, but thanked us for making him laugh.

The above was compiled after speaking to many former shipmates, which jogged my memory greatly.
Below is a partial listing of former shipmates, who either were original ships company or arrived shortly
after the Detachment was established. Only by contacting Dan Eaton, Jeff Jardine and Joe Hussey,
"Zappa" and Gerry Gall, have I been able to even remember all of the names below. So, if you are not listed
here, please forgive us, after 29 years we all suffer from a bit of senioritis.

Greg Benson, Joe Bettencourt, Raymond J. Biziorek, Dan Braun, Tom Brockman, Eugen "Lurch" Brusin,
Robert "Rimmer" Buckius, Raymond W. Cleis, Oscar "Ray" Council, John "Dutch" Dutcher, Dan Eaton,
John "Mad Dog" Foster, Joel "Fast Freddy" Friedman, Gerry Gall, Jimmie Hoyt Givens,
Craig Holloway "Stud Mouse" Glass, Dave Guernsey, Gary Hickey, John "JJ" Hughes, Joe Hussey,
Jeff Jardine, Terry "Teddy Bear" Kittner, Duane Leifur, Mike Larson, Fred Lindenbaum, Jeff Linn, Mike Lyon,
Robert A. "Little Mac" McDaniels, Grant E. "Bill" Miles, Frank "Zappa" Moceri, Doug "CB" Moore,
Terry Mossburger, Robert E. Ott, Edward J. Pietrzak, John "Rat" Reinert, Mike Rolloff, Stephen B. Rosenberger,
Richard S. "Rick" Sanderson, Richard "Rick" Shaw, Allan E. Sitter, Larry "Beaver" Skains, Brian "Jeff" Slater,
Charles "Chuck" Todd, Craig "DeeDum" Smith, Larry "Tuck" Tucker, Mark "Mo" Wright, Harvey Milton "Toki" Young.

I sadly note that former shipmates Randy Whitted, John Messengale, and Eddy "Whiz" Whisnant
have passed away. May they rest in peace and always find clear skies, strong winds to their back
and smooth seas to sail on!

Looking back, I can tell you that the summer months were terribly hot, more humid than an August night in NY,
and mosquito infested. The only building that was air-conditioned was the Ops Center, naturally, so it was with
great enthusiasm that we wanted to stand watch! The winters were exactly opposite; cold, wet and dismal cloudy
almost daily. When it snowed, the wind blew it sideways off of the Yellow Sea, only miles away, rather than it
falling from the sky. While I do not remember any great accumulations of snow, I remember that it snowed
continuously and just kept blowing away. But it was cold, bitterly cold. We survived, we flourished actually,
having great fun in the Village and working hard and professionally at our mission. I remember one night, on a
Mid watch, Randy and I filled our thermos bottles with Jack and coke, passed it off as "black coffee" and almost
got away with it. Ray Council, our watch NCO, decided to have some coffee and low and behold when he took a
gulp of it he went ballistic! I tell you, if I wasn't due to rotate home in less than a week, I think my butt would
have stood a Captains Mast. Ray, the great guy he was (one heck of a softball pitcher also) really was not happy
with us, but just had us both cleaning the head each watch, until I rotated home. I also remember having a pair
of "blue suede" shoes made in the Village, adorned with a white star on the outer portion of each side, and
wearing them on my Mid Watches. Ray just looked the other way, had a real laugh over this but told me to
ditch them well before relief time and get back in uniform, which I did.

As I understand it, the Detachment grew even larger as the years passed and was operating into the '90's.
I can only tell you, at the time we were stationed there, it was one heck of a great duty station. Obviously, it was
a compliment to Chief Leifur, who understood what long separation from home, desolate surroundings, and
the stress of our work could do, and therefore our need to blow off steam, mindful that we always remained
professional at work. A big bear of a man, he was tough but fair, a friend, a counselor and most of all, a
professional, and we respected him for it. Navy all the way, but a man with a heart of gold. All the guys were
great, each contributing in their own way, each supporting the other guy and each ready to help when it was
required. I will never forget the comraderie, the sense of professional pride and duty to country we all shared,
but I also will remember the individual shipmates I served with for their humor, quick wit and endless sea tales.
It was the best of times!

(*) I know that some have indicated the Navy command at Pyong Taek was established in 1962, contrary to our
claim of it being 1972. I am drawing my information from personal knowledge and the memory of both former
shipmates and former ASA personnel, all who were stationed at Pyong Taek. The ASA guys go back to the early
or mid 60's, and they do not recall a permanent Naval presence during their tours. I have not had contact with
any Navy CT, who was stationed at Pyong Taek prior to 1972. There is a recollection by the ASA guys of a small
contingent of Navy CT's (less than 10), arriving around the time of the USS Pueblo incident, but they only stayed
for a short period (weeks) and then departed. If anyone has better information on this, it would be greatly
appreciated, so we can fully document the history of the USN presence at this location.

Home | Pyong Taek Intro