Team Osan 2006 Year in Review

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --  From left: Lt. Col. Lee Harvis, 51st Aeromedical-Dental Squadron flight surgeon, Staff Sgt. Bembry King, 33rd Rescue Squadron pararescue team leader, and Senior Airman Kristofer Darrow, 33rd RQS pararescue team member, carry a patient to the HH-60 for medical evacuation. (Courtesy photo)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- From left: Lt. Col. Lee Harvis, 51st Aeromedical-Dental Squadron flight surgeon, Staff Sgt. Bembry King, 33rd Rescue Squadron pararescue team leader, and Senior Airman Kristofer Darrow, 33rd RQS pararescue team member, carry a patient to the HH-60 for medical evacuation. (Courtesy photo)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --  Gen. Paul V. Hester, Pacific Air Force Command commander, hands the 7th Air Force guidon to Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood, the new 7th Air Force commander, as Lt. Gen. Garry R. Trexler, the former commander, looks on Monday in the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron Blackcat hangar. Lt. Gen. Trexler is retiring after a 36 year career in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eunique Stevens)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Gen. Paul V. Hester, Pacific Air Force Command commander, hands the 7th Air Force guidon to Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood, the new 7th Air Force commander, as Lt. Gen. Garry R. Trexler, the former commander, looks on Monday in the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron Blackcat hangar. Lt. Gen. Trexler is retiring after a 36 year career in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eunique Stevens)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --  Col. Shane Stegman, 51st Mission Support Group deputy commander, and daughter Ellie, 9 months, were the first people to take a dip in Osan's new indoor wading pool May 22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Knudson)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Col. Shane Stegman, 51st Mission Support Group deputy commander, and daughter Ellie, 9 months, were the first people to take a dip in Osan's new indoor wading pool May 22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Knudson)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Team Mustang's crucial role in the stability of the Korean peninsula and East Asia was demonstrated repeatedly during 2006, and its readiness to fight at the drop of a recall was tested again and again.

"We did a tremendous job in a number of areas last year," said Brig. Gen. Joe Reynes, 51st Fighter Wing commander. "But most importantly, we maintained readiness at all times. We repeatedly demonstrated our ability to fully engage the enemy at a moment's notice. We made a vital contribution to the peace and security of the Republic of Korea, and the stability in this area of the world."

This was tested almost as soon as the New Year started when the base held its first PENCERE of the year.

As the year marched on, and the base got busier preparing for the April Unit Compliance Inspection, the base received a visit in March from the 5th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert D. Gaylor, who was here to speak at the 7th Air Force Annual Awards ceremony as the guest speaker.

Soon after, the base received another important visitor, though this time, it was the highest ranking civilian in the Air Force -- the Honorable Michael W. Wynne, the Secretary of the Air Force. While he was here, he visited Airmen, and answered any questions they had about what was going on in the Air Force.

A little later that month, the base received a taste of home when Chili's opened its doors to the base.

Quality of life continued to improve in April when a new family housing tower opened. The ninestory military family housing tower has 112 total housing units, including 48 two-bedroom units, 48 three-bedroom units and 16 four-bedroom units. The tower also contains office areas for facility management and a recreation room.

May was quite possibly one of the busiest months the base had, but it paid off in a big way when Osan received an Excellent on its UCI inspection and became the first PACAF unit to get an Outstanding for the Full Spectrum Threat Response Exercise.

"That was one of only three Excellent ratings the wing has received in a UCI, and it was due to the professionalism and dedication of every member of the Mustang Stampede," said Brig. Gen. Reynes. "It is very rare for there to be absolutely no Marginal ratings in a wing and this was the case for the entire base."

A few weeks after the inspection ended, the base upgraded the way people could exercise and play year around when it opened its new indoor pool near Mustang Valley Village.

June marked the beginning of an era for the 5th RS as they received cockpit upgrades for their U-2s; something that was compared to "upgrading from a typewriter to a shiny, new, cutting-edge computer."

September saw the first of two high ranking individuals leave Osan. 7th Air Force command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Vance Clark left his position to become the command chief at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. The position was filled by Chief Master Sgt. Ray Allen.

October marked the 41st year anniversary of the 554th RED HORSE Squadron. But it was a bitter sweet anniversary for the unit because it was the last one they would be celebrating on Osan. And because of the move, one of the base's land marks, the giant red horse riding a bulldozer, was packed up and shipped to Guam about a month after the anniversary.

In November, Lt. Gen. Garry R. Trexler, the 7th Air Force commander, handed the reigns over to Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood. After three years as the 7th Air Force commander, and 36 years in the Air Force, the general elected to retire.

The year finished with a spectacular performance by the Air Force's Tops in Blue a week before Christmas.

General Reynes said that Team Osan will draw upon the very successful year when meeting challenges in 2007.

"After what we accomplished in 2006, I am convinced we can handle whatever comes our way this year," he said. "Our confidence should be high, like our commitment to readiness. Our most important challenge will be to be ready at all times to take the fight to the enemy. We will have several opportunities to sharpen our sword in the coming months as we prepare for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection. Here's to another year of excellence, Mustangs!"