731st AMS PortDawg pride prevails despite obstacles
By Capt. Anthony E. LaMagna, 731st Air Mobility Squadron
/ Published January 23, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- While runway construction at Osan Air Base doesn't affect the 51st Fighter Wing's mission, Airmen from the 731st Air Mobility Squadron are ensuring air cargo and passengers for United States Forces in Korea are safely transported without interruption.
The squadron teamed with both the Republic of Korea Air Force and sister units within U.S. Forces in Korea to move operations to alternate locations during the partial runway closure. This strong partnership and detailed logistical planning displays an amazing dedication to mission accomplishment and honing readiness for any contingency.
"Exercising our joint-partnerships with the Korean Air Force is critical to mission success here, and we were all in to prove our capabilities," said Lt. Col Russell J. Gorecki, 731st AMS commander. "We successfully utilized war reserve material, communicated our requirements and executed our displaced large-scale operations."
Though a large amount of aircraft are still able to operate out of Osan during the construction, the actual loading and unloading of the aircraft passengers and baggage was moved to a nearby joint partnership airfield.
The 731st AMS is in support of the full spectrum of missions providing for the deterrence, protection and defense of the Republic of Korea, while maintaining stability in Northeast Asia, Gorecki said. The squadron prides itself on facilitating the execution of precise, intense and overwhelming combat operations, and receiving follow-on forces that truly are "ready to fight tonight" whenever and wherever needed.
"Our customers are our mission and understand that despite some challenges, we plan ahead and execute based on their needs and comfort," said 1st Lt. Bryn Sowa, 731st AMS Osan passenger terminal officer in charge. "Since recent operations began, our Airmen have moved more than 3,000 passengers and have received nothing but compliments about our customer service."
To further their efforts, the PortDawg's are also using their social-networking capabilities, such as the Osan Passenger Terminal Facebook page, the 51st Fighter Wing Commanders Action Channel and the Armed Forces Network as informational resources.
"We took this opportunity to not only exercise our capability, but also use down-range equipment," said Capt. Ilechukwu Agu, 731st AMS air freight OIC. One piece of equipment is the reusable prototype pallet cover that the 731st researched and created to protect cargo during inclement weather. The cover adds a reusable third layer of protection from the elements when covered storage facilities are unavailable or scarce.
The unit remains the main hub for more than 50,000 service members and their families annually flying to or from Korea duty, and the prime mover of 20 percent of all cargo to the USFK, resulting in more than 6,000 pallets annually.