Airfield ops says goodbye to old base ops
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 51st Operations Support Squadron airfield operations flight bid farewell to the former base operations hub, Bldg. 882, moments before it was demolished June 3.
Bldg. 882 was the first of three buildings that airfield ops members vacated in an effort to centralize all of the flight's members in one primary location.
"The facilities making up the airfield operations flight used to be spread across three different buildings - 882, the old tower and RAPCON (radar approach control) building," said Maj. Ray Crotts, 51st OSS airfield operations flight commander. "All of those facilities are being merged into one which will be right here in Bldg. 870. The airfield management and weather sections moved in around April 20, the tower finished their move May 13, and RAPCON started around May 21. We are now fully functional."
Having all three of the flight's sections under one roof will only enhance the flight's capabilities, Crotts said.
"Putting us all together in the same facility will make it much easier for us to provide service, and ultimately accomplish our mission," he said. "One of the biggest features of our new building is all of the upgrades in our technology. We're adding a brand new tower simulation, so when there's not actual live traffic our controllers can train on our new state-of-the-art simulator. We're also going from an older analog radar to a DASR (Digital Airport Surveillance Radar) and a new system for RAPCON called STARS (Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System) which will be a similar change to when televisions converted from analog to digital signals."
Although the new facility boasts upgraded equipment, the old base ops building will leave behind more than just rubble.
"The building was one of the oldest on the base," said John Okonski, 51st Fighter Wing historian. "The basic functions of the facility have stayed pretty much the same since it was completed in 1953, so you can imagine all of the history behind it."
Part of that history is the numerous achievements airfield operations flight members have earned throughout the years.
"We were named the best facility in the Air Force in 1993, 1999, 2002 and 2011, and have won best facility in PACAF 10 times," Crotts said. "There's been some pretty significant accomplishments throughout the years, but we're still looking to the future."
The future, Crotts said, looks bright for airfield ops.
"The whole landscape here has been shifting the past couple of years," he said. "We have about $190 million in construction projects currently on the airfield. We expect to be back in the winning category soon because we play a huge role in our defense of the peninsula and our national defense strategy."