KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, also known as the ‘Red Devils,’ recently completed a months-long contracted study to improve mission accomplishment and quality-of-life for the 8th Fighter Wing ‘Wolf Pack.’
The study focused on infrastructure and utilities like dormitories, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, water supply and treatment, military working dog kennels, and even game-planned for future construction projects like the 80th Fighter Squadron and 80th Aircraft Maintenance Unit complex.
“When it comes to the mission, investing in our infrastructure ensures that we are able to fly sorties and that we have a primary and back-up power source for critical missions,” said Maj. Harrizon Sanchez, 8th CES engineering flight commander. “We must have the capability to accept the surge of follow-on forces by making sure the sewer system, water sources, HVAC systems, and the dormitories can handle the influx of service members. To make all of this happen at Kunsan, we need to invest in the Wolf Pack’s infrastructure and utilities.”
Although most service members are only at Kunsan for a one-year tour, the Red Devils take pride in cultivating a ’10-year vision’ to prolong operations at Kunsan.
“Continuity between rotating personnel is a real challenge,” Sanchez said. “Having the goal to fix all the infrastructure problems is not realistic within a single year. What the 8th CES has asked the contractor to do is help identify short-term projects (1-2 years), mid-term projects (2-5 years), and long-term projects (5+ years) to improve our aging infrastructure.”
While the study included both short- and long-term projects, the engineers have already been working on some of the most important facilities on the installation that affect every service member – the dorms.
“We’re updating preventative maintenance on our HVAC contracts to make them more frequent and are funding a $1.5 million contract to repair inoperable HVAC components in nine of our largest and most problematic dorms,” Sanchez said. “It is important to get the word out to the Wolf Pack that 8th CES has already started getting after the short-term projects identified during the study, and are actively working to improve dormitory living conditions before the heat and humidity return this summer.”
For commanders at every level across the Korean peninsula, ‘taking care of the team’ is always a top priority.
“My main focus is to emphasize how the Red Devils are trying to not only take care of the Airmen at the Wolf Pack now, but future service members as well,” Sanchez said. “Investing in the future of the Wolf Pack’s infrastructure and utilities is important to keep the base functioning and ready to perform its mission, and also to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Being able to have lighting when you flip the light switch, or hot water when you turn your shower on, or have air-conditioning in the summer requires infrastructure investment,” Sanchez said.
Keeping in mind the more than 3,000 personnel who make up the Wolf Pack, the study also looked at the installation’s electrical distribution system, exterior lighting for poorly-lit areas throughout the base, stormwater management, various revetments protecting important assets, lift stations, manholes, and the base’s geographic information system.
“Having a game plan for the long-term helps us prioritize our infrastructure program and provides a road-to-improvement plan for future rotations,” said 1st Lt. Gabriel Hinding, 8th CES officer-in-charge of program development. “The future of getting these projects funded is uncertain and challenging, but the keys to success are solid planning, requirements definition, and properly programming the projects.”
For the Red Devils, investing in this study is investing in the future of the base and those who will call it home. With a clear, prioritized plan, the engineers can tackle the infrastructure challenges with intention, improving both the mission and the quality-of-life for the legendary Wolf Pack.
Editor’s Note: For dorm maintenance requests and resources, don’t forget to download the Air Force Connect app and select ‘8th Fighter Wing.’