Making history: U.S. Air Force Outstanding Civil Engineer Manager of the Year

by U.S. Air Force Story by Staff Sgt. Franklin R. Ramos, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Mr. Kang, Tae Chun, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron Operations Flight deputy commander, was named the U.S. Air Force Outstanding Civil Engineer Manager of the Year. He is the first ever Republic of Korea national employee to receive this award.

Kang has been serving in his role for more than five years. He assists with leading 275 technicians in the sustainment and repair of Osan’s $3.5 billion infrastructure.

“Here at CES Operations Flight, we take care of all the property on Osan AB. As the deputy of the Operations Flight, I take care of the funds side of things,” said Kang. “Using a life cycle budget tool, I plan for the funds every fiscal year for the year ahead. I’ll submit all the requirements for approval and once we get an amount of the funds, we plan on how to utilize the funds for each element within CES.”

With most Airmen leaving here after 12 months, Mr. Kang being a local employee helps make it easier for Team Osan to continue the mission.

“With our high-rate of turnover, he is the continuity that keeps our flight's strategic planning on track. He also provides superb leadership to our almost 100 civilian employees and bridges the gap between our U.S. and Korean family members,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Bogdan, 51st CES Operations Flight chief. “Without Mr. Kang's [continuity], leadership and insight, the maintenance and repair of Osan's already challenging infrastructure would be exponentially more difficult.”

Kang’s accomplishment highlights how working together better enhances the Rok-U.S. alliance.

“To be the first-ever Korean National employee to be named [for this award] not only breaks barriers, but also exemplifies how important our Korean national teammates are in accomplishing our mission,” said Bogdan. “His impact is felt every day by everyone on this installation. He empowers every Mongrel (51st CES) to accomplish the amazing things we do on a daily basis in support of the mission. Whether it's ensuring we have reliable power or guaranteeing our runways are clear during inclement weather, Mr. Kang has his hand in ensuring our Airmen have the resources and training to “Make it Happen!”

Although the award is recognizing the individual, Kang believes it represents his unit altogether.

“I think this award is important for the people that I work with because [although] the package describes what I did, it could not have been done by myself. That means that the work is performed by our team and I’m proud of our team. This award is for our whole Operations Flight,” said Kang. “They are constantly busy, and I am thankful to them for all their hard work every day. I’m proud of my flight.”

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