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It wasn’t “their” base, but 15 Gunsan City civic leaders visited Osan Air Base on Tuesday, many for the first time, to tour the 7th Air Force headquarters in South Korea.

“They understand what we do at Kunsan, but by going up to Osan, they got a chance to see how Kunsan and 8th Fighter Wing fit into the bigger picture of the defense of the Korean peninsula and the defense of this region,” Col. C.Q. Brown, commander of Kunsan Air Base’s 8th Fighter Wing, said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Kunsan Air Base is next to Gunsan City, about three hours south of Osan. Osan and Kunsan air bases are both part of 7th Air Force.

The South Korean guests received a mission briefing from 7th Air Force officials, visited the Korea Air and Space Operations Center and the Korea Combined Operations Intelligence Center, observed A-10 and U-2 aircraft displays, and took a bus tour of the base.

The leaders included Gunsan City’s mayor, director of budget and planning, a bank director and an industrial leader.

“The thing the mayor took away is that we are ready to fight tonight,” Brown said, citing comments the mayor made to the group after the mission briefing and lunch.

Yang Hui-cheol, chair of the Chonbuk Province Sports Association, said he was impressed by the underground bunker where the South Korean and U.S. air forces transmit intelligence information. He added that he felt reassured by the cooperation between the two militaries.

Ko Young-chun, president of Mirea Newspapers, said many South Koreans are optimistic about reconciliation between North and South Korea and aren’t thinking about national security. But seeing control headquarters and state-of-the-art technology systems helped him understand why the U.S. military is here.

“It is amazing that you can figure out in one look what will be going on in Korean peninsula in case of war breaking out,” he said.


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