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Cheong Ju (Chongju) Air Base

Cheong Ju (also written Chongju) first opened as an air base in September 1978. Six years later in April 1984 the ROK government decided to construct an international airport at the site. Construction on the airport began in 1992 and was officially completed in 1997. The Air Base at Cheong Ju is a combined use facility, utilized by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), but maintained by the USAF. In a wartime scenario, Cheong Ju could be used as a forward deployment point for USAF aircraft.

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 planned, programed and initiated 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.

The United States Air Force had a continuing requirement to maintain adequate supplies of ammunition and explosives within the ROK to support wartime and contingency operational plans. Since capabilities were limited on USAF-controlled installations, the US obtained additional storage capabilities through a concept known as MAGNUM (Munitions Storage Activities Gained by Negotiations of USAF/ROKAF Memorandum). MAGNUMs were a concept unique to Korea, where USAF-titled munitions were stored at facilities which were owned, operated, and protected by the ROKAF. Accordingly, the USAF had very little control over the storage of munitions within these areas and no authority to enforce the maintenance of Q-D clear zones. As a result of encroachment by the Korean civilians into the explosive clear zones, there were large numbers of exposures around the MAGNUMs. There was a permanent exemption from US DoD Q-D standards for off-installation and ROK exposures created by storage of USAF munitions at MAGNUM locations. This exemption applied for all off-installation and ROK violations created by the originally sited net explosives weight (NEW) of storage structures located at the Osan, Kunsan, Suwon, Kwang Ju, Sachon, Taegu, and Cheong Ju MAGNUMs.

In 1981 the United States and the Republic of Korea signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the pre-positioning USAF-owned combat communications assets at the following ROK Air Bases: Cheong Ju, Sachon, Suwon and Yechon. Under the agreement the ROKAF was required to provide the following at Cheong Ju Air Base:

  • A: Provide rent free and at no cost to the USAF 12,000 square feet of outside storage space adjacent to the Base Supply warehouse and allow inhouse USAF Engineers/USAF managed contractors entrance to Cheong-Ju AB to construct the security fence required to enclose this area. Allow the USAF to connect into existing electrical system in order to provide security lighting.
  • B: Provide rejit free and at no cost to the USAF inside storage space within the Base Supply warehouse to store one conex container.
  • C: Permit the use of base motor pool facilities as required by USAF personnel for routine operator maintenance of vehicles and mission essential emergency repairs. Routine operator maintenance includes, but not limited to, cleaning, lubrication, oil changes, maintaining tire pressures and corrosion control. USAF will provide all required materials.
  • D: Provide telephone communications support, emergency medical support, emergency firefighting support and any fuels and/or lubricants needed for USAF personnel during deployments and visits to perform periodic maintenance and operational testing of USAF assets.
  • E: All requests for reimbursement for support provided in paragraph D above will be submitted annually or as needed to the comptroller 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan AB, USAF.
  • F: Provide for protection of pre-positioned USAF assets as part of their installation security program.

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. Cheong Ju/Chongju 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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