Sachon Air Base
Sachon Air Base is a Republic of Korea Air Base operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force. During the Korea War Sachon (K-4) was used by the USAF to train ROKAF pilots, a function that it continued to serve even after the conflict. The United States continued to maintain a minimal presence at the base after the conflict ended. Sachon was one of a number of facilities the USAF continued to use to store munitions and equipment as a potential forward deployment facility during a wartime scenario. Sachon was included in the USAF's Harvest Eagle/Bare Base projects for rapid deployment of equipment to establish full functionality to facilities with airstrips and access to water on short notice. A Harvest Eagle warehouse was established at Sachon in the late 1970s.
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 Sachon Air Base:
- A: Provide rent free and at no cost to the USAF 16,000 square feet of outside storage space by permitting an extension of the existing Harvest Eagle east security fence approximately eighty (80) feet in an easterly direction. If required, allow the USAF to connect into existing electrical system in crder to provide security lighting.
- B: Incorporate this expanded area into the security surveillance provided for the Harvest Eagle facility.
- 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 emergency medical support, emergency firefighting support and any fuels and/or lubricants needed for USAT 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. Sachon Air Base, however, was not included in the original 2002 agreement or the 2004 ammendments, as it was an ROKAF facility.
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