Kunsan runway is back in business
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Kunsan Air Base officially reopened its runway to the Wolf Pack's F-16 Fighting Falcons Oct. 31 after six weeks of runway repairs.
Wolf Pack pilots flew jets back from Osan Air Base, ROK, and Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, after participating in DISTANT FRONTIER and RED FLAG-Alaska exercises while the runway was closed.
"The Wolf Pack has done an outstanding job ensuring our mission continues no matter the status of our primary runway," said Col. Ken "Wolf" Ekman, 8th Fighter Wing commander. "While I'm proud of the training our Airmen have accomplished off-station, it's great to have the Pack back together."
Along with the jets returning, support personnel were also welcomed back to Kunsan after their time off-station.
"It was a great experience being able to follow our fighters wherever they went, both to Osan and Alaska," said Senior Airman Jestin Joseph, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics specialist. "But even though I enjoy visiting new places, I'm glad to be home with the Wolf Pack."
Prior to the official runway reopening, approximately 700 Wolf Pack Airmen and Republic of Korea air force members prepared the runway for returning aircraft by performing a foreign object debris detection walk.
"The reason for the FOD walk was to locate and remove any small pieces of debris left behind from the runway construction, so items such as rocks or other small materials don't cause harm to the jets taxiing down the runway or while taking off and landing," said Master Sgt. Christopher Harris, 8th Maintenance Group wing FOD manager. "Airmen from each unit on base walked end-to-end of all aircraft movement areas, scanning their zone and picking up anything that didn't belong."
During the runway closure, about 500 concrete slabs were replaced, making up about one-third of the entire runway, thus being the latest repairs in over 10 years, according to airfield management.