Military families tour Osan’s intelligence community
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- What is it like to take a peek inside one of the premiere intelligence communities in east Asia? More than a hundred spouses and family members of Airmen assigned to the 607th Air and Space Operations Center were given a tour of the facilities at Osan Air Base, Nov. 16, 2018.
The tour gave visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of how intelligence units work together to safeguard the 51 million people in the Republic of Korea. Guests also learned how the facility can continue to function even when sealed off from the outside for multiple days at a time during contingencies.
The families were given a briefing, which showcased the AOC’s mission to plan, command, control, execute and assess air and space information operations to meet higher-level taskings across the full spectrum of military operations.
“We wanted to show the family members what their military spouse does when they go to work every day and to see something that’s not normal for them to get to see,” said Tech. Sgt. John Tarpley, a tour coordinator with the 6th Intelligence Squadron.
Given the sensitive nature of military intelligence, the tour was designed as a way to introduce the families to the work their family members perform every day while safeguarding information.
Jeremy Lala, a 12-year Air Force veteran and military spouse, attended the tour and learned how intelligence operations related to the time he spent in the military as an aircraft maintainer.
“The operations floor was eye-opening,” he said. “I could see the big map of Korea where they see the aircraft flying around and the seats that would be filled with people making command decisions.”
Lala said he was most impressed by the way some AOC troops communicate with their Korean counterparts.
“ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force) and U.S. forces are sitting side-by-side getting the same information and verifying it with each other. You always hear we work hand-in-hand with our Korean counterparts, but getting to see where they sit looking at the same screen… it was an amazing, eye-opening experience. It’s a literal, physical partnership.”
The visitors later learned about the air lock and decontamination procedures which would protect their Airmen during a contingency. The tour concluded with a final briefing from the 6th Intelligence Squadron on the U-2 mission.
Staff Sgt. Frank Martinez, tour guide and project manager assigned to the 694th Intelligence Support Squadron, briefs families of the Airmen during a tour of the Air and Space Operations Center and Korean Combined Operations and Intelligence Center on Osan Air Base, Nov. 16, 2018. The tour began with an overview of the intelligence mission, and included a tour of air-filtration equipment, decontamination procedures, as well as briefings about intelligence operations involving U.S. partnerships with South Korean intelligence experts.