Osan Air Base, Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea — Col. Christopher Crary, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED) commander and Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, along with several dignitaries, participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the replacement of the main runway on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 3, 2021.
This ceremony marks the completion of a 5-year, $75 million construction project to repair the main runway for Osan Air Base.
Osan Air Base’s original runway was constructed in 1953 and served as the 51st Fighter Wing’s only runway for over 50 years.
“A new runway began construction in 2011 and took five years to complete. Almost as soon as the concrete was set, the base coordinated to move all the aircraft to Suwon so that construction on the inside runway could begin. Another five years later, we are standing in front of two new runways and an alternate landing surface,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Walinski, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
Construction on the new runway completed in 2016 under the Land Partnership Plan, an agreement between the U.S. Forces Korea and Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense to reshape the posture of U.S. military forces in the Republic of Korea. After opening the new runway for operations, repairs on the old runway began in Fall 2016.
“Like all of our major construction on Osan, this project would not have been possible without the support of the Republic of Korea. The United States and her allies sleep better knowing we share the same mission and are postured to defend freedom with rapid aggression,” said Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander during ceremony proceedings. “As represented by the diverse representation in the audience, the completion of this project is a team effort to be ready for base defense and contingency operations.”
The project delivery team responsible for overseeing the Osan runway delivery comprised of several members of the District’s Central Resident Office, which is located in Osan. This team’s efforts, in junction with the ROK Ministry of National Defense-Defense Installation Agency, were instrumental in further enabling the 51 Fighter Wing’s ability to fight tonight.
USACE Far East District is the premier engineering, design, and construction agent for all DoD agencies in the Republic of Korea. Since its inception, the Far East District has played a critical role in the security and stability of the region and in strengthening the alliance between the US and the ROK. As such, it also fulfills a unique mission; the only “maneuver” district within USACE, FED must always be prepared for war, even while building for peace on the Korean peninsula. The Far East District is responsible for executing a multi-billion-dollar program, the largest construction program managed by the U.S. Army.