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LRS makes runway closure one smooth ride

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan's airfield reopened Tuesday after repairs and renovations were completed. While it took many units to accomplish the closure, from civil engineers to security forces, the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron was in it for the long haul. 

Coordinating with both the 25th and 36th Fighter Squadrons and the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron, the logistics readiness Airmen transported all their necessary supplies and personnel around the Korean peninsula. Communicating the squadrons' needs and figuring out LRS' capabilities helped the operation run without a hitch. 

"The key to doing all this is communication," said Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Butler, 51st LRS readiness superintendent. "If everything is not communicated down to the tiniest details and you don't know what's going on, it can get ugly really quick." 

The coordination for the move, which took place May 22-24, wasn't just a matter of numbers. 

"We had to train our Airmen how to get to the other locations," said Tech. Sgt. James Moore, 51st LRS chief dispatcher and point of contact for the project. "Then there was matter of a pick-up schedule for passengers and pallets." 

In those two days, LRS made 129 runs with seven tractor trailers to move 242 tons of cargo on 194 pallets. 

"For Osan, this was a big movement," said Maj. Tony Vargas, 51st LRS readiness flight commander. "But compared to stateside deployments, this was small." 

The amount of cargo was increased due to the redeployment of the fighter squadrons from Singapore Sling on May 29. LRS brought the personnel back to Osan right away, but all of the supplies had to stay at Kunsan. 

Throughout the runway closure, LRS continued to move supplies back and forth between the different locations, including transporting liquid oxygen carts every other day, and running shuttle buses. All this was done while LRS Airmen took care of their daily Osan mission. 

Finally, June 5 arrived and the runway reopened. With the renovations complete, LRS began moving supplies and personnel back to Osan. They are working with the fighter squadrons and reconnaissance squadron to get supplies dropped off. 

"When it's finished, it's a stress reliever, obviously," said Sergeant Moore. "It took every single one of us to get this done. It's great to show teamwork." 

That teamwork includes all of Team Osan, said Sergeant Butler. 

"It's like one big puzzle," he said. "(To get the job done), you take all the pieces, the different base organizations, and pull together as one team, one fluid unit." 

And if the base mission again calls for LRS Airmen to coordinate a large-scale move, they're willing and able, said Master Sgt. Rene Roman, 51st LRS vehicle operations superintendent. 

"We're always ready," said Sergeant Roman. "For 60 percent of our guys, this is standard (operations). Our guys deploy and are combat truckin'. This is easy compared to what they're used to."