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  •  38 mi. S of Seoul
 
 

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51 Fighter Wing (18 February 2000) 51 MSS/DPF Unit 2097 APO AP 96278-2097

HISTORY OF OSAN AIR BASE, REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Prior to the invasion of the Republic of Korea by the North Korean communists in 1950, the area, now designated Osan Air Base, consisted of four villages near the hillsides and a larger number of rice paddies where the runway now lies. Originally designated K-55, the base was redesignated as Osan Air Base in late 1956. The base was not named for any of the villages on the site, but for the small town of Osan, about six miles to the north on the main supply route leading to Seoul. The word "Osan" means Crow Hill. Koreans who were employed at the base at the time believed that the name of Osan was chosen by the Americans because it was much easier to pronounce and spell than the other villages' names. Osan was also the closest village to be found on military maps of the area at that time.

The four villages which were moved to make room for the base were Jeuk-Bong-Ri, Chang-Deung-Ri, Shin-Ya-Ri and Ya-Ri. A large ginkgo tree that was in the village square of one of these villages still stands on the present golf course site.

Osan is on and near the site of two significant events which occurred early in the Korean War. The first Korean War battle between North Korean and U.S. forces was fought just a few miles north of present day Osan Air Base. Following the orders of Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, commander of the 24th Infantry Division, a task force of two infantry companies and an artillery battalion was sent to Korea July 1, 1950. Under the command of Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith, this group, called "Task Force Smith," was tasked to meet the oncoming North Koreans to bolster the faltering Korean army and provide a delaying action until the rest of the division could be transported to the peninsula.

On July 5, 1950, "Task Force Smith" was hit by enemy fire between the Towns of Osan and Suwon. The task force held against an entire communist division for 7 hours. With ammunition depleted, the survivors managed to fight their way clear and reach Pyongtaek. There, joining an element of the 34th Infantry Regiment, they soon had to give up this position, almost without a fight. Just north of Chonan, the task force fought another delaying action, but soon was pulled back to Taejon where General Dean had established his headquarters. "Task Force Smith" fought for 16 days, culminating its delaying action by holding the North Korean army outside of Taejon. That enabled the 24th Infantry Division to land at Pusan and hold the Pusan perimeter until the famous Inchon landing September 15, 1950.

Topping a hill a few miles north of Osan on the road to Suwon stands a monument, constructed by Companies B and C of the 3rd Engineering Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, in honor of the men who gave their lives in the valley. The inscription on the plaque, in both English and Hongul, reads: "In commemoration of this site, 5 July 1950, 408 men of Task Force Smith, 21st Infantry Regiment and Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, fought the initial action between United States and Communist Troops."

Osan also is remembered as the location for the first U.S. Army company-strength bayonet charge since World War I, which occurred on February 7, 1951. That charge was part of a larger plan to clear the Republic of Korea of all communist troops south of Seoul. Army Capt. Lewis L. Millet led his soldiers against communist Chinese forces on Hill 180, which dominates present day Osan Air Base. For his heroic actions, Captain Millet received the Medal of Honor.

Prior to its use as an air base, Osan's site housed an army regiment. In addition, Osan Air Base is the only American base in Korea built completely "from scratch" since there had never been a Japanese, Korean or American air strip on the location. The site was chosen as the locale for a two-wing base and 5th Air Force Advanced headquarters. Fifth Air Force at that time was headquartered in its forward location Seoul and its rear location at Taegu.

In November 1951, work began on building two roads, one for hauling bombs and the other to service the administrative area. The 417th Engineering Battalion began runway construction July 9, 1951. The rolling hills were transformed into a base of operation and the runway was completed in less than 6 months. The runway opened in December 1952, with the advance elements of the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing arriving for duty late in the month. The 18th Fighter Bomber Wing provided air operations in support of United Nations ground forces during the conflict. After the conflict, the unit was transferred back to Kadena Air Base, Japan, and was replaced by the 58th Fighter Bomber Wing.

Fifth Air Force advanced headquarters moved to Osan in February 1954 and remained until the following September. During 1954 and 1955, the 58th Fighter Bomber Wing moved to Osan from Taegu. The 58th Air Base Group became independent of the wing in March 1957 and assumed host unit responsibilities.

The 51st Air Base wing was relocated from Naha Air Base, Okinawa, to Osan November 1, 1971, and took over support responsibilities.

On July 1, 1982, the 51st Composite wing was redesignated the 51st Tactical Fighter Wing. Ten years later, in February 1992, the wing was redesignated the 51st Wing and on October 1, 1993 it was redesignated the 51st Fighter Wing. The 7th Air Force and 51st Fighter Wing Headquarters buildings are located at the base of the now famous Hill 180. Today, Osan Air Base covers 1,565 acres. One of its most prominent features is it's 9,000-feet runway.

Location: Songtan,Pyongtaek City, Korea Comments: Osan AB is located approximately 34 miles south of Seoul. South Korea is slightly larger than the state of Indiana. It is bordered by North Korea on the north and is only 123 miles from Japan to the east.

Major Command: PACAF Comments: Headquarters for 7th Air Force is located at Osan AB.

Mission: The overall mission of Osan is to provide air defense for the Republic of South Korea. During wartime 7th AF becomes the Air Component Command.

Status of Forces Agreement: The legal status of U.S. Forces personnel in Korea is determined by an international agreement between the United States and the Republic of Korea called the U.S./ROK Status of Forces Agreement.

Your assignment in Korea not only helps the ROK, it helps the U.S. accomplish important foreign policy objectives. This doesn't entitle you to any special privileges, except for those provided in the SOFA. On the other hand, the ROK is very willing for you to live and work in as familiar an environment as possible and to have for your personal use the same type of services and facilities that you enjoy back home. In return for having these things, which are generally not as readily available to its own citizens, the ROK government makes two requests: 1. that you respect ROK laws 2. that you do not allow the privileges granted U.S. forces to harm the nation's economy or that of its citizens.

The SOFA gives you benefits and protection. It enables you to enjoy the benefits of base exchanges, commissaries, military clubs, banks credit unions and postal services. It protects your legal and civil rights in case you are involved in an accident or suspected of a violation of ROK laws.

The SOFA also provides that the ROK government will take jurisdiction over USFK personnel only for those offenses which violate ROK laws, such as causing death of another person, robbery, rape, or attempts to commit such offenses. Offenders remain in U.S. custody until all judicial proceedings are completed. In addition to criminal matters, the SOFA covers taxes, drivers' licenses, customs duties, import rules, postal regulations, and many other areas.

The SOFA applies to all U.S. Armed Forces people (both military and civilian) in Korea, invited contractors, technical representatives, and all family members. Embassy people and those assigned to JUSMAG-K are not covered by SOFA.

Population assigned-served...... : As of 18 February 2000 Active Duty Officer............. : 721 Active Duty Enlisted............ : 5592 Family Members.................. : 1500 (approx) US Civilian Employees........... : 470 (includes NAF off-duty mil) Total Osan Population........... : 8283

Telephone Access................ : Commercial 011-82-333-66l-XXXX(prefix 784) 011-82-333-660-XXXX(prefix 783)

To contact Songtan from Osan AB, dial "99" plus the six plus the the local number. Also, to reach Osan AB from other cities in Korea dial 0333-661 (784 prefixes) or 0333-660 (783 prefixes). To call Osan AB from a commercial phone in the US dial 011-82-333-660 or 661-XXXX.

COMMAND SPONSORED vs NONCOMMAND SPONSORED From a family viewpoint, there are two types of tours for military personnel in Korea. Of approximately 37,000 US military positions in Korea, only about 3,000 are command sponsored two-year tours which permit families at government expense and allow a full range of government benefits. Out of the 7000 personnel assigned to Osan, approximately 400 are command sponsored. Most command sponsored billets are for mission essential positions (commanders, section commanders, first sergeants and other identified key personnel). ANY COMMAND SPONSORED BILLET MUST BE APPLIED FOR AND APPROVED THROUGH THE STATESIDE MPF. The remainder are unaccompanied tours, also known as "noncommand sponsored," "hardship," or "remote" tours. Because Korea is a potential combat zone, for security and evacuation purposes, the number of family members in country has been restricted. To enforce this, the US Congress has severely limited the military benefits normally available to families. Command sponsored families have full access to base exchanges, commissary, medical care, schools and other facilities. They are authorized to live in government housing, or if it's not available, receive financial assistance with their rent (Overseas Housing Allowance). They can be issued government furnishings for their quarters. The sponsor's ration control spending limits reflect the actual family size. Personnel on an unaccompanied tour are not authorized to bring families to Korea. If families are left behind in the States, they may receive housing, exchange, commissary, medical and other benefits at a military installation near their home, and are eligible to be moved to a DESIGNATED LOCATION that is cited in the member's PCS orders at full government expense.

If a service member DOES ELECT to relocate his non-command sponsored dependents to Korea, transportation costs--per diem and with dependent rate Dislocation Allowance ARE NOT payable. Depending on the job and its location, the servicemember may be required to live in the barracks, dormitory or BEQ/BOQ. This is considered a potential combat area and not suitable for family members. In any case, a non-command sponsored family is not authorized government quarters or financial assistance in paying off-base rent. Medical and dental care is provided on a space available basis to all family members. Even when care is available, the family may not live near the medical facility and may have difficulty getting there. Personnel below grade TSG are not authorized to register a privately owned vehicle in USFK. Ration control restrictions on non-command sponsored personnel may also cause personal hardship. School age children who are not command sponsored are authorized attendance at Department of Defense schools only on a space-available basis. However, no children are being accepted at most schools because the schools are at or near maximum capacity. Currently, children must either interrupt their schooling, be tutored at home, or attend private schools in the community which can be a serious educational hardship for children and a financial hardship for the family.

See MUST KNOW ITEMS section for more information

Geographically Separated Units Attached to Osan

Pil-sung Range (51 Electronic Warfare Training Sq DSN 784-6387, FAX 784-6388. Pil-sung Range is located at the foot of Mt Taebeck, one of the highest mountains in Korea. It is 160 miles due east of Osan and takes about 4 1/2 hours travel time by road. It is now manned by U.S. & Korean Civilian Contractors. There is a dining facility, Club, gym facilities, cable TV, video library and one medic. It is VERY remote.

Ko-on-ni Range (51 Range Sq DSN 784-6112/6113) Ko-on-ni Range is approx. 45 minutes by road from Osan Air Base but is still considered quite remote. It is now manned by U.S. & Korean Civilian Contractors. The compound is small (1 1/2 miles in size) but there is a rec center, gym, ball courts, sauna and jacuzzi. Bring home recipes as the dining facility will use them. Ko-on-ni has an official Air Force mascot, a very friendly and much appreciated dog.

Camp Red Cloud (604 ASOC Sq DSN 732-6142 (also Camp Casey 730-2331), 607 Weather DSN 736-1113, 3rd ROK Liaison DSN 732-6703) Camp Red Cloud is an Army post located approx. 15 miles north of Seoul near the city of Uijongbu(we jong boo). A few people are located at nearby Camp Casey and are in contact with Camp Red Cloud personnel daily. A shuttle bus runs between Red Cloud, Casey and Camp Stanley. Out of 1000 personnel assigned to Red Cloud, approx. 200 are Air Force. Most personnel reside on base in dorms or barracks. Personnel may be out in the field once per month or TDY quite often depending on the unit. The basic menities are available (PX, shoppette, clubs, gym, craft center, library) but the commissary is at Camp Casey. No family housing is available and there is no housing office. Any command sponsored personnel find housing in the city of Uijongbu. Even though Red Cloud is located near a city of 180,000 it is still considered a remote due to the nature of the mission.

Taegu/Waegwan/Camp Carroll/Camp Walker/Camp George/Camp Henry(51 TRANS, DSN 765-8225/8263 (located at Waegwan), 51MMS, Det 1 DSN 766-4035/4036 (located at Taegu) 607 Weather DSN 764-4333 and AFELM JCIS DSN 764-4781 (both located at Camp Walker). Air Force personnel are scattered between Camp Carroll (near Waegwan) and Taegu Air Base near the city of Taegu. Camps Walker, George, and Henry are close to Taegu Air Base. The Camp Henry SITES gives information on this area. Taegu is located approx. 160 miles south of Osan Air Base. All "bases" are either US Army, Korean, or a combination of the two. 51TRANS (Waegwan) is a depo rebuilding center and all personnel reside off base. Only 3 USAF are assigned here. There is a small gym, pool, small PX/commissary, mini mall and it is considered very remote. US Army are assigned here also but the number of personnel is unknown at this time.

The 607 MMS is the "caretaker" unit for Taegu Air Base. Approx. 25 people of different AFSC's are assigned here. All personnel reside in former Air Force Officer dorms which are basically small apartments. There is a small BX/Shoppette, snack bar, gym and other typical amenities available. The commissary is at Camp Walker (8 miles and 30 minutes drive across town). There is no dining facility and all personnel receive BAS. Along with the Korean Air Force (ROKAF), there are 110-120 army personnel stationed here. There is only one command sponsored billet (commander).

607 Weather/AFELM JCIS is located on Camp Walker. Very few and all reside on post in army barracks.

Kimhae International Airport (IAP)/Kimhae Air Base (51MMS, Det 1 OL-A DSN 763-3581 FAX 787-4208, 51COMM Sq DSN 787-4000, FAX 787-4011, Commercial 011-82-51-801-7019, e-mail 51CS-OL-C@emh7.korea.army.mil)

607 MMS is located in the middle of a ROKAF base approx. 10 miles from Camp Hialeah. Camp Hialeah is in the city of Pusan, the second largest city in; Korea. Approx. 9 USAF personnel are assigned here. E-6 and above have the option of sharing base quarters or residing downtown on single rate BAQ . E-5 and below reside in USAF barracks at Camp Hialeah. See the Camp Hialeah SITES for information about base services. 607 MMS maintain wartime readiness materials and the majority of AFSC's here are CE types. No command sponsored billets available.

607 COMM is located next door to 607 MMS. There are 4 USAF personnel assigned to this unit. The Site Chief (E-7 slot) is a command sponsored billet. Personnel E-5 and below reside at Camp Hialeah, E-6 and above have the option of sharing base quarters or residing downtown on single rate BAQ. See the Camp Hialeah SITES.

There are a few Defense Logistics Assignments to Kimhae. These folks work at the AMC Terminal. Approx. 17 USAF are assigned here. DLA assignments fall under AFOSI at Bolling AFB and the POC is DCMCI in Dayton Ohio at DSN 986-6401. There are also some DCAMO personnel assigned that work on the F4's, F15's and F16's at Kimhae. Their DSN is 763-7008.

Wonju (Camp Long) 7th AOG DSN 721-3512/3410. Camp Long (US Army post) is the nearest military installation to Wonju. Approx. 18 personnel are assigned here. Calling DSN is highly encouraged. There is no SITES for Camp Long.

Camp Humphreys (607 Weather DSN 753-7810, 607 CCS DSN 753-6919) SITES is available for Camp Humphreys. All USAF personnel reside at Camp Humphreys in a large USAF dorm. Basic services are available at Humphreys. Contract bus service or local bus is available for transport to Osan/Songtan. Camp Humphreys is 12 miles south of Osan Air Base.

NOTE: The 607th Weather Detachments are scattered all over Korea, many at Army installations.

Kwangju (607MMS, Det 3 DSN 786-6314/7314 FAX786-6666) 15 USAF personnel are assigned to this small site. Personnel reside in former Officer quarters which are basically a small apartment. JTR is 20% for this site. (Mail Address: Unit 2120, APO AP 96262-2120)

Suwon Air Base (607MMS, Det 2 DSN 788-5385 FAX 788-5396) 16 USAF personnel are assigned to Suwon. Suwon is a USAF base but is the opposite of Osan AB in that the ROKAF (Korean Air Force) has all the planes and does all the flying. A large Army Patriot Battalion is located here but is a tenant unit of the Air Force. Senior NCO's have the option of living off base (in Songtan) and airmen reside in dorms at Osan AB. All commute daily to Suwon (17 miles north of Osan AB). Suwon has a small BX, snackbar, barbershop, laundry services and dining facility (run by the US Army).

NOTE: Bringing families non-command sponsored is not recommended for any GSU. Many sites are isolated and services are minimal. Housing in the local area can be primitive. Schools are generally NOT available. Employment is scarce.

FOR MANY ASSIGNMENTS TO GEOGRAPHICALLY SEPARATED UNITS, PERSONNEL MAY RECEIVE BAS, COLA, FOREIGN DUTY PAY, AND FAMILY SEPARATION ALLOWANCE. THIS VARIES DEPENDING ON THE ASSIGNMENT, THE MISSION, THE LOCATION, AND VARIOUS OTHER FACTORS. CHECK WITH TMO REGARDING JTR ALLOWANCES. SOME GSU'S ALLOW 20% OF JTR, SOME DO NOT. IT PAYS TO INVESTIGATE. THIS GSU LISTING IS NOT MEANT TO BE ALL INCLUSIVE. THE STAFF AT THE FAMILY SUPPORT CENTER HAS NOT VISITED ALL GSU'S AND SOME INFORMATION IS SECOND HAND. THIS IS MEANT AS A GENERAL GUIDE.

YOUR SPONSOR IS YOUR BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON GSU ASSIGNMENTS! WRITE THEM!

REUNION IN KOREA

Sponsored by the Korea National Tourism Corporation, the Reunion in Korea program enables families of U.S. Forces Korea personnel to visit Korea at a bargain price.

Each reunion visit consists of round trip airfare from the United States, and five days and four nights of first class hotel accommodations, meals, tours and entertainment.

Each eligible USFK sponsor is allowed to bring two people to Korea under this program. Guests must spend at least seven days in Korea and may stay up to 58 days if they wish. (NOTE: 2 days travel time -- total of 60 days.) Visitors must have a valid U.S. passport, and if they stay more than 30 days, a Korean visa.

The tour program costs $800 from Hawaii, $820 from the west coast, $1,000 from three Texas cities, mid-west and from the east coast. A $100 deposit is required at the time of application. For an additional fee of $300, the sponsor may accompany his guests on the tour. Prices are subject to change.

Tour dates for the year 2000 are 22 - 26 May, 18 - 22 Sep, and 6 -10 Nov. For further information and application forms, contact your recreation center's tour office, or call DSN 723-3474.


Osan Air Base: Installation
Installation Overview

Name : 51st Fighter Wing Command Post
Address : Bldg 938, Osan AB, Korea
City : APO   Zip : 96278
Phone : 784-7000 Fax :
Web Address : http://www.osan.af.mil
Official Installation Link

Base Operator
DSN 315-784-4110
011-82-333-661-1110

Major Units
7th Air Force
51st Fighter Wing

Billeting/Quarters
784-1844

Mailing Address
51MSS/DPF, Unit 2097
APO, AP
96278-2097

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