Air traffic controller tracks 52 years of service
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Air traffic control specialist Chang Pong-gyu has worked at the Yongsan heliport for 52 years, and recently said farewell to his job in the tower. Col. Michael. E. Masley, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, and other officials from the aviation field attended Chang's retirement ceremony, Aug 28.
Chang began working as an air traffic control specialist following the Korean War at the age of 25. Since then, Chang gained legendary status in his professional community.
"He is a living legend to air traffic controllers in Korea," said Pfc. Jupyo Hong, a KATUSA service member who works at the USAG Yongsan heliport. "Although I'm not one of them, I always feel the respect the other controllers pay to Mr. Chang. And considering the sincerity and devotion he puts into his work, Mr. Chang deserves the credit."
Besides faithfully completing his job and setting the example with his "Can Do" attitude, Chang also served the community training generations of air traffic controllers.
"As a trainer, it is hard to fathom the number of Army air traffic controllers Mr. Chang has trained," Masley said. "It would be hard to find any aviation service members, who have not heard of him. There is no doubt that the Army air traffic control system has been improved by his contributions over the years."
Following Masley's comments, Chang noted briefly what his lifetime of service means to him.
"It was a true honor for me to work here in Yongsan," Chang said. "Service members that I have met were all hard working, devoted people and I enjoyed every moment working with them. Although I will not get to be here anymore, the memories of Yongsan will not be forgotten. I will miss this place."