Students from Songshin Elementary School walk through a 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire engine during a visit to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 11, 2019. The visit was part of the Songshin Little Explorers Program that gives students the opportunity to visit different Osan squadrons and learn about their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)
Students from Songshin Elementary School walk through a 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire engine during a visit to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 11, 2019. The visit was part of the Songshin Little Explorers Program that gives students the opportunity to visit different Osan squadrons and learn about their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

New program brings local children to Osan

by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – The 51st Mission Support Group partnered with the Osan 5/6 Organization to develop the Songshin Little Explorers Program to help support a strong relationship with the local community surrounding Osan.

The program brings students from Songshin Elementary School to the base and gives them the chance to visit different squadrons and learn about their mission.

“The ROK-US alliance is extremely strong and we are always looking for ways to partner with our host nation,” said Col. Kevin Mantovani, commander of the 51st MSG. “Programs like this allow us to show young ROK civilians what we do on the base and inspire a future generation of local children at the same time.”

Third grade students from the school visited the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire department, where they learned about different firefighting equipment and vehicles.

Their next stop was the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron’s individual protective equipment flight, where they learned about protective gear and its purpose.

“A lot of the students have never been on base or interacted with military members stationed here,” said Tech. Sgt. Belinda Wimberly, president of Osan 5/6. “By them coming, they got to see the positivity associated with what we do every day and saw things they aren’t familiar with, which is part of the school’s curriculum, ‘learn about local town’.”

Airmen also stayed true to the curriculum and learned about their local town. Team Osan members who participated and helped organize the visit experienced local culture by interacting with the students, learning greeting customs and some of their education system.

“This has been an awesome opportunity for everyone involved and the feedback from the kids and teachers has been great,” Wimberly said. “We are appreciative of the people who have stepped up and helped make this a successful event.”

The Songshin Little Explorers Program hopes to expand and become available to more students to continue strengthening friendships with their Korean neighbors.

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