By Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
With a heritage that dates back to construction of
the Washington Monument, Panama Canal and the Pentagon, the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers Osan Resident Office has a lot to live up to.
The team of 20 doesn't let that intimidate them as
they strive to enhance the base's infrastructure and give substance to the
plans their Air Force partners have for the future.
"We're working on six host nation-funded
projects right now," said Jamie Hagio, USACE ORO resident engineer.
"There's always a new challenge - it's never the same thing every
Among the construction currently underway is an
eight-lane second runway.
"The concrete paving is about 55 percent
complete," said U.S. Army Maj. Brian Becker, USACE ORO project engineer.
"We're also working on installing drainage systems around the area."
The runway is being paved at a pace of about 1,200
feet per day using a sophisticated machine known as a slip form paver that
creates cookie cutter-like sections of concrete. Three-man teams must follow
the paver along each side to drag burlap across the concrete's surface,
creating the exact texture needed for aircraft to take off and land.
"Depending on the section, the concrete is
between 12 and 18 inches thick, with the touchdown area being the
thickest," Becker said. "If the texture or thickness is incorrect
even on an infinitesimal level, the section has to be re-done."
Joon Seok Lee, SK Engineering and Construction Co.
Ltd. quality control chief, said the relationship between members of the runway
project could best be described as friendship.
"It's the best example of teamwork," Lee
A 277-room dormitory for senior NCOs - scheduled for
completion near the end of 2014 - is also on the resident office's project
Jung Ok Kim, Republic of Korea Ministry of National
Defense-Defense Installation Agency project engineer, said the structure has
progressed well thanks to open communication between all parties involved.
"I am very satisfied with the work environment
at Osan," Kim said. "It's better than other places I've been. The
best team is here."
Service members aren't the only ones who benefit from
USACE projects, though. Near the main gate, a new elementary school has begun
to take shape as construction workers build rebar forms to lay the concrete
"The school will house students in kindergarten
through fifth grade and is a $30 million endeavor," Hagio said.
Becker said he enjoys the unique opportunities that
come from working on an air base, but that one of the most gratifying aspects
of his career is leaving a legacy.
"After a job is complete, you have the
satisfaction of knowing that project will last for decades," Becker said.
"Someday my kids could land on this runway that I helped build. A lot of
pride goes into building enduring features of the base."Hagio served as
an engineering officer in the U.S. Army for more than six years before his time
with USACE, and said he's lucky to have had the experience of working in the
ROK with the high volume of construction for eight years
having tangible proof of the effort we put into a project," Hagio said.
"I believe building facilities for our military contributes to our
readiness and enhances our ability to fight tonight. It's great to support the