Morin Gate opens; Doolittle Gate closes
By Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2019
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of Team Osan gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the updated and improved Morin Gate at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan. 4, 2019.
“Improved technology, facilities, equipment, safety features and the capacity to process more vehicles make this the safest, most efficient and most secure installation access point,” said Col. William Betts, 51st Fighter Wing commander.
The gate is named after Corporal Joseph R. Morin of Augusta, Maine, the first Air Police member killed in combat action after the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“On Nov. 1, 1950, Corporal Morin volunteered as a member of a bilateral U.S. and ROK search party to find a downed pilot,” said Laren Fleming, 51st FW historian. “On the return from their mission, the search team stopped for a meal break where Morin and his ROK partner were killed by a land mine as they stepped away from their vehicle.”
The Morin Gate was originally constructed in 2004 with better vehicle search capabilities than the existing Doolittle Gate, but was closed for further updates for the last three and a half years. The completion and opening of the new Morin Gate signals the permanent closing of the Doolittle Gate, which has been operational since August 1972.
“After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Doolittle Gate provided effective explosive standoff distance and became the major hub for commercial vehicle searches,” said Donald Baribeault, 51st Security Forces Squadron director of plans and programs. “Given its original design however, it was not as well suited as the Morin Gate to perform a vehicle search mission.”
In the upcoming months, the Main Gate will also begin renovations with an estimated completion date of Fall 2022.
“The existing northern parking lot will be closed during the early months of the project, and the southern parking lot near the pedestrian gate will have reduced availability during some phases of construction,” said Baribeault. “Pedestrian access and taxi availability will be maintained throughout the project.”
The Main Gate renovations phasing plan will be announced once available.