Receive Forces: 51 FSS Beddown
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- This is the sixth in a series of articles relating an overview of the mission at Osan Air Base. The major role Team Osan plays in the Republic of Korea and the extent of its mission will be showcased this week in the way Team Osan's Airmen keep the base prepared to "Receive Forces." Next week, there will be in-depth look at how the base reinforces stability in the peninsula. Concluding the series will be a wrap-up article with a video showing the broad spectrum of the base's mission.
Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, is home to a multi-national population of more than 10,000 people. In its over-60 year history, the site has been a base of operations for several wars and conflicts from Korea to Vietnam to the post Cold War. Over time, Osan has evolved, adding numerous quality of life facilities and accommodations for its Airmen, families and ROK partners. Yet, considered the most forward deployed unit in the Air Force, it's also a major responsibility for the 51st Fighter Wing and Team Osan to be perpetually ready to receive forces during a contingency.
Managing the resources needed to keep the base ready to receive forces in an emergency is a multi-team effort. A pivotal member of this team is the 51st Force Support Squadron beddown crew, a group responsible for helping ensure the base can be constantly prepared for the addition of more than 6,000 personnel, or more than 60 percent of the base's regular population.
In a non-emergency environment, the mission of the 51st FSS beddown team focuses on providing quality of life amenities to Team Osan, such as the management and upkeep of the rooms at Turumi Lodge, the bases 24-hour lodging facility that's often the first establishment incoming Airmen see.
While quality and service are important for the team's peacetime operations, the criticality quantifies in a contingency. Due to the nature of the endless possibilities that could require follow-on forces to lodge at Osan, the team has to be qualified to respond every day, any time.
"We have a fully trained beddown team ready to receive forces at a moment's notice," said Tech Sgt. Lamonte Marshall, 51st FSS beddown team. "In wartime, we increase warfighter readiness by providing 100 percent of our forces with (shelter) to help enable Team Osan to fly, fight and win tonight."
Critical to operations, the logistics and particulars of preparing the base to receive thousands of forces takes a lot of coordination. The FSS periodically meets with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron and housing to ensure a contemporary and adequate beddown plan is in place.
"Beddown is important during contingency operations to ensure our forces are able to have (collective protective shelters) in the event of a chemical attack," said Marshall. "Without a place to stay, our forces couldn't execute the 51st FW mission in an emergency environment."
Preparation is the most essential part of the beddown team's game plan. To adequately prepare and examine their capabilities, the team is extensively tested during the base's quarterly operational readiness exercises. Additionally, they meet with other base agencies regularly as part of a "Reception Working Group," which plans for real-world TDYs and exercises requiring the base to receive forces.
Marshall and his teammates are particularly responsible for two pivotal CPS dorms on base, which are used to house transient and emergency troops, such as the Airmen from Kunsan Air Base who were relocated to Osan last fall while their runways were under repair. Part of maintaining the habitability of the dorms requires working with CES to ensure said dormitories are adequately furnished and safe. This means conducting periodic walk-throughs and inspections, ensuring the rooms are available for occupation as soon as possible.
The beddown team is currently participating in a reception verification group, following the heels of the base's Maintenance and Mission Support Groups. By deliberately trying to unearth their weaknesses, the FSS beddown team is engaging in the Team Osan tradition of "calling the baby ugly," voluntarily examining and testing the limitations of their capabilities. The purpose of the group is to acknowledge strengths, but even more importantly, recognize flaws, resulting in an emergency plan that's operates as smoothly as possible. It's a task the team acknowledges the importance of.
"Without beddown, our forces couldn't exist," said Marshall.