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Next Gen Dining: Groundbreaking Marks Ten-Years of Teamwork

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steven Adkins
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Leadership of the 8th Fighter Wing and Seventh Air Forces officially broke ground for a new dining facility at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 23, 2022.

“Thank you for joining us here, for what is truly a momentous occasion for the Wolf Pack,” said Col. Robert “Falcon” Bartlow, 8th Mission Support Group commander. “If you look back 15 months ago… there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the capability of the Wolf Pack being able to feed its force.”

The uncertainty stemmed from long-term wear and tear of the facility. Things from ceiling leaks, floor damage and electrical tripping, temporarily shut down the O’Malley Dining Facility amid Winter of 2020.

Constructed in 1985, O’Malley sits 276 at once, services 2,700 personnel, delivering 1,500 meals per day and 500,000 meals annually. As the hub for Wolf Pack Airmen, and their sustenance, even a temporary closure has a major impact.

“Fast-forward to today…we can officially begin to recognize the construction for our new DFAC,” Bartlow said. “[This is] going to improve the quality of life of our Airmen, it’s going to give them a significant upgrade in where the majority of our Airmen go to get their three square meals a day.”

The O’Malley DFAC is run by 21 U.S. military and 72 Korean cooks and mess attendance members. However, the amount of people who came together in the development and execution of the new Dining Facility’s construction are even greater in number.

“It’s team Kunsan at its finest, and the reasons go back a long ways…” said Col. John B. “Wolf” Gallemore, 8th Fighter Wing commander. “Not long after Lt. Gen. Pleus, “Wolf 51,” was in this same seat, was when the wheels started in motion. Here we are, almost a decade later. Thanks to really, the previous ten teams for making this happen.”

The 8th Force Support Squadron, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, 7th AF staff and the Army Corps of Engineers – Far East District, dedicated years of work to this project. However, the support our host-nation partners provided was absolutely crucial to making the new DFAC’s construction possible.

The DFAC project, in its entire $21.5 million, was made a reality thanks to the Republic of Korea Funded Construction program, which is designed to offset USFK’s costs in the Republic of Korea for units who have critical construction requirements.

“We can do a lot, but without the funding, and without the support of the host nation we can’t do all of the things we can do,” Gallemore said.

Side-by-side, at approximately 1:38 p.m. the team of leaders representing the years of partnership broke ground on the future, 700-seat hub of Wolf Pack dining and readiness.

“We’ve been living in a 1980’s facility, which is cool if you’re having a 1980’s party, but it’s not in 2022,” Gallemore said. “When you have a combat mission and you’re trying to retain combat-mission readiness.

“This new facility will take us into that next generation, and enable the Wolf Pack to not only be ready to Accept Follow-On Forces, but to take the Fight North.”

The new dining facility is expected to be completed by September 11, 2024.