Kunsan AB structures shop improves base facilities
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- *Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a series designed to highlight innovative efforts, large and small, that are improving infrastructure at Kunsan Air Base. These both save the Air Force money and improve mission readiness for generations of Airmen to come.
Every installation has a multitude of offices who help support day-to-day operations at their specific location.
The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron structures shop, here, has Airmen who not only support the 8th Fighter Wing, but help improve and maintain other work centers around the base.
“Our mission is to ensure that the facilities stay in good repair and working order so that everyone else can do their mission,” said Staff Sgt. Josiah Sorrels, 8th CES lock shop noncommissioned officer in charge. “The structures shop is responsible for the maintenance and expansion of all the facilities on base. We cover everything from carpentry to masonry to metal work.”
These wide range of skills that structural Airmen bring to the table are what makes them a unique career field in the Air Force. At Kunsan, there are different challenges they run into here than a base in the U.S., but their training keeps them going.
“We have a lot of work in this country, for example, duct work, sheet metal, that’s not very common amongst other bases. And of course, there’s the language barrier as well,” said Sorrels. “It’s fun, I enjoy these challenges. It’s nice to be able to overcome these. There’s always another way…we haven’t been stopped yet.”
Despite the challenges faced, the structures shop completed more than 1,200 work tasks in 2018 with a small team comprised of Koreans and Americans.
Staff Sgt. Coleman Ballard, 8th CES structural craftsman, said one priority project for the team was fixing the baffles at the 8th Security Forces Squadron firing range. Baffles are angled wood surfaces attached to the ceiling that helps prevent ricochets from bullets fired at targets.
“There were a total of nine baffles that needed to be repaired due to weathering over the years. The screws they used had rusted away and the plywood started to fall down…causing a huge safety concern,” said Ballard. “We replaced a total of 5,200 square feet of plywood in 5 weeks with only six people.”
With projects that can last from minutes to months, Kunsan Airmen can rest easy knowing the structures shop is here to help them reach mission success.
“I like being able to go work and just do different things each day,” said Sorrels. “It really presents a challenge and you just feel accomplished at the end of the day.”