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Kimhae (Gimhae) Air Base

Kimhae Air Base is located near Pusan, South Korea. It is also located near the city of Kimhae (also written Gimhae) and the Kimhae (Gimhae) International Airport. The 51st Fighter Wing, headquartered at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, maintained and administered US operations at Osan and 5 collocated operating bases: Taegu, Suwon, Kwang Ju, Kimhae and Cheong Ju, for reception and beddown of follow-on forces. The Wing's 51st Logistics Support Squadron plans, programs and initiates actions for the rapid reception and beddown of US forces deploying to the Republic of Korea during contingencies or wartime by maintaining five collocated operating bases and seven munitions storage sites. Otherwise the sites, including Kimhae, were effectively Republic of Korea Air Force facilities.

There were a few Defense Logistics Assignments to Kimhae working at the AMC Terminal. Approximately 17 USAF personnel were assigned there. DLA assignments fell under AFOSI at Bolling AFB and the POC was DCMCI in Dayton Ohio. There were also some DCAMO personnel assigned that work on the F-4s, F-15s and F-16s at Kimhae.

The 554th Rapid Engineering Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE), deployed to Kimhae Air Base in mid-2000 to work on 3 projects: a super K-Span building, a pre-engineered building or PEB, and an asphalt-paving project. The projects were done to support Kimhae's war reserve materiel mission. The 90-by-176 super K-span was a dual-purpose building the use which would depend on the mission at hand of service members on the peninsula. During peacetime it was used to store WRM assets. In a wartime scenario, the assets would be placed outside, and the building would house troops. At the second construction site, RED HORSE members constructed a 50-by-100 PEB that was to be used as a vehicle maintenance shop for Harvest Eagle WRM assets. Laying 140,000 square feet of new asphalt to support the 51st Contingency Hospital was the third project. The asphalt was laid over the existing gravel roads and parking lot to provide dust suppression and a better working environment. Construction on the super K-Span was completed 5 May 2000, taking about 94 days at a cost of $450,000. The asphalt paving project was completed in 21 days at a cost of $201,000. The PEB was finished 30 May 2000, for a total of 120 days of construction and a cost of $457,000. Had those same projects been contracted to a civilian construction company, they would have taken longer to be built and would have cost the government more than $2 million.

The 51st Contingency Hospital was a major player in the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration exercises. The contingency hospital, located at Kimhae near Pusan, South Korea, was at the heart of a flight route that would take patients throughout and out of Korea during wartime emergencies. The only thing that distinguished a contingency hospital from the original MASH units was the fact that it was located in a permanent structure that provided better conditions for surgery. The 51st Contingency Hospital was the only such military hospital located in theater. A sixth of a mile long, the hospital took up more room than 3 football fields combined. It was divided into a 250-bed aeromedical staging facility where patients would stay overnight until they could be moved, a 100-bed intensive care unit and a 400-bed medical/surgical unit where patients could be held on a more permanent basis.

As F-15s began to age structural issues became more and more serious. As a result the USAF mandated a program to inspect and repair structural fatigue problems, including those caused by corrosion, across the entire F-15 fleet. By March 2001 every F-15 assigned to Kadena Air Base in Japan had undergone corrosion inspection. Aircraft not inspected at Kadena were inspected/repaired by Korean Air Lines at their Kimhae Korea depot facility.

In 2002 the United States and the Republic of Korea agreed to a Land Partnership Plan (LPP) for the reorganization of US facility assets in the ROK. This included the closure, partial closure, and return of a wide array of facilities to the ROK. Kimhae (Gimhae) Air Base, however, was not included in the original 2002 agreement or the 2004 ammendments, continuing to be a US Air Force maintained facility.




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