Osan celebrates new chapel during grand opening

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kaitlin Castillo
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

After years of hard work and construction, the doors to the new Osan Air Base Chapel were opened to the public for the first time at Osan AB, Republic of Korea, Feb. 29, 2024. 

The event celebrating the opening of the facility included a ribbon cutting ceremony. U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Kitchens, Department of the Air Force chief of chaplains, cut the ceremonial ribbon, marking the official opening of the new chapel. Senior leaders from throughout the Department of Defense attended to commemorate the new chapter in Osan’s religious history. 

Kitchens elaborated on his enthusiasm to join in the celebration with members of the community. He previously served as the senior Protestant chaplain from 2005-2008 at Osan where he saw the planning of the new chapel.

During his tour, he became friends with a groundskeeper of the chapel, Tadu. He had worked for the chapel for 57 years and unfortunately passed before he could see the new building. 

“I’m sure he’s smiling today seeing this beautiful facility,” said Kitchens. “He always treated the chapel as if it was the most sacred place. Today he would have a smile on his face and this is a fitting place to yield hope, peace and unity.”

Col. William McKibban, 51st Fighter Wing commander, expressed his excitement for the new building and the opportunities it brings to the community.

“The previous chapel served Airmen for more than 50 years at two different air bases,” said McKibban. “This one promises to deliver and serve Airmen for another 50 years, symbolizing an investment in Osan today for the Airmen of tomorrow, as well as our commitment to providing top-notch support to our service members and their families.”

Prior to the opening of the new facility, religious services were conducted in various buildings around Osan. The new chapel allows for services to be held in a centralized location, making it easier for service members and families to fellowship. 

“The chaplains are here to assist in maintaining spiritual, mental and social readiness,” said Lt. Col. James Galyon, 51 FW wing chaplain. “The new chapel allows for service members and their families to connect in a sacred space, and grants us the opportunity to execute religious support operations more efficiently.”

The celebration also included a cake cutting to honor the 75th birthday of the Air Force Chaplain Corps. The theme for the anniversary was honoring the past, inspiring the future: 75 years of freedom, faith and ministry.

“The beautiful new chapel sits appropriately at the center of our community,” said McKibban. “It promises to enhance not only our strengths in worship, but our social connections, resilience and education efforts here at Osan.”