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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The 60th anniversary of their fighter wing was fast approaching, and the postal staff at Osan Air Base soon hit on a novel way to help highlight it.

They know the U.S. Postal Service considers requests from local communities for postmarks that commemorate key local events, said Master Sgt. James S. Register, Osan’s postmaster. So the staff asked for a postmark commemorating the 51st Fighter Wing’s activation on Aug. 18, 1948, when it was called the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing.

Such special postmarks draw steady business from stamp collectors, Register said.

Working with the wing’s historian, Osan’s postal staff came up with a design in early June. The Postal Service, which holds the special postmarks to exacting standards, asked for adjustments in the artwork.

Weeks of tweaking the design followed, Register said, but by mid-July the postmark passed muster and was made available from Aug. 18 through Sept. 18.

It bears the silhouette of an F-86 Sabre fighter jet, which the wing flew extensively during the Korean War, as well as the wing’s name and the words: " ‘Leading the Charge’ Station 60th Anniversary of the 51st FW.""

Osan’s gotten more than 300 requests from collectors.

"We’ve had kids, all the way to doctors and lawyers and everything in between, requesting these postmarks," Register said.

Collectors send a self-addressed envelope containing the postcard or envelope they want the postmark on, Register said.

Osan’s clerks also have the stamp ready for over-the-counter customers.

"Some of the requests we received, they say, ‘Hey, I was stationed at Osan. It would be great to have a piece of history or that cancellation, because I was actually stationed there,’" Register said.


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