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Write stuff: Base paper documents Osan history

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Osan news goes to press!

It was Nov. 8, 1952. A little publication called the Thunderjet Express was created to keep the servicemembers at Osan informed of what was happening around the base, Air Force and military. It's now 55 years and four names later, but the base newspaper is still keeping Team Osan in the know.

The tradition of military newspapers can be traced back to Nov. 9, 1861, with the creation of the Stars and Stripes. According to the Stars and Stripes Museum and Library Association Web site, Union soldiers found an abandoned printing press in Bloomfield, Mo., after fighting off Confederates. The soldiers "decided to print a newspaper for their expedition, relating the troop's activities." They distributed the paper to their fellow soldiers, and an institution was born.

Almost 91 years later to the day, Osan began its publication. From the Thunderjet Express to the Sabre Star to the Defender and, finally, to the MiG Alley Flyer, the military journalists of Osan have continually had the same goal.

"Our mission is to inform and educate Team Osan," said Lt. Col. Michael Shavers, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief. "Whether it's a commander's commentary or a feature story on security forces, the base paper - and now the Web site - is the number one source for information on what's happening in and around Osan."

In order to keep up with the current 24-hour news cycle, base newspapers Air Force-wide have begun migrating to the Web. This allows Team Osan to get its news as it happens, instead of once a week. Readers will receive the same quality news product in a brand new format.

Even though the information distribution is moving into the future, the base newspaper and Web site will still help preserve Osan's past.

"Base newspapers have served a role in helping preserve the history of a base or organization," said Mr. John Okonski, 51st Fighter Wing historian. "When reported, the base newspaper often gives the public a view of an event, exercise or operation, usually with a personal angle of a participant."

These articles not only keep the base populace informed, but it gives historians information not available elsewhere when they're researching a topic, said Mr. Okonski. In fact, print copies of Osan's base newspapers dating back to the mid-1950s are kept in the historian's office.

"Military news service is a part of Air Force heritage -- from its humble beginnings with 10 Union soldiers printing a paper in the abandoned Bloomfield Herald to the instant news of the 21st century," said Lt. Col. Shavers. "Articles for and about U.S. servicemembers will continue to be highlighted by military news services for years to come."