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Team Osan restores Seoraksan Tower water and power

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Skyler Combs
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – Family housing on base provides easy access to supporting facilities and amenities for service members and their families stationed at Osan Air Base. Schools, youth programs, and food services are all conveniently available and within reach, but when the residents of Osan’s Seoraksan Tower apartments lost power on April 20, 2022, things were not so convenient.

While the base community sprang into action to provide essential services like food, shelter, and phone charging stations for the affected families, it was clear that the root cause of the problem was not going to solve itself.

Airmen from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron responded to the situation almost immediately. Plumbers and electricians worked quickly to identify the issue that caused the power outage at Seoraksan Tower.

“Using schematics of the building, we were able to trace the power lines and test for power at different areas to narrow down the possibilities,” said Tech. Sgt. James Wilson, 51st CES electrical systems craftsman.

Underground water pipes and electrical lines had been damaged, causing a temporary shutdown of both the water and power sources to Seoraksan Tower.

Airmen and civilians worked tirelessly day and night to resolve the issue. Broken pipes were replaced to ensure that water lines to the building were safe and ready for use, and new electrical lines were installed to replace what had been damaged.

While Osan’s Civil Engineers worked to restore water and power, personnel from the 51st Comptroller Squadron, 51st Force Support Squadron, and Osan Legal Office were able to swiftly authorize and secure off-base lodging and grants for the nearly 300 affected residents.

“We immediately educated squadron, group, and wing leadership on the regulations and availability of grant opportunities and were able to open early the day after the outage to begin processing the applications,” said Francine Torres, Airman and Family Readiness Center flight chief.

The Osan A&FRC and United Service Organization members were able to coordinate with available U.S. Air Force and Army resources to provide vouchers, food, and social service assistance.

“When the A&FRC heard of the power outage we knew that some families could be hurt financially,” said Torres. “Our team was able to process 14 applications and provide nearly $3,000 in food grant assistance in the first 48 hours of the power outage.”

Osan’s Civil Engineers worked a total of three days to restore water and power back to the Seoraksan Tower apartments, but there is still work to be done. Residents should expect scheduled temporary outages while personnel work to make the newly restored water and power lines fully operational.

“Our team was able to rally together and utilize our skills and job knowledge during this unfortunate event,” said Wilson. “It was our pleasure to restore access to these necessary amenities to all the families that were affected.”