At U.S. air bases in South Korea, officials say they have specifically avoided having any funding shortfalls affect services offered to airmen. Because nearly 90 percent of the servicemembers in South Korea are on unaccompanied tours, fee increases are unpopular options.
“While money has been tight, and we’re authorized money for certain remote and isolated requirements in our services operations, we’ve managed to stay the course on fees,” said 1st Lt. Nora Eyle, a 51st Fighter Wing spokeswoman at Osan Air Base.
“Most of our folks are here unaccompanied, trying to maintain two households. Increasing fees is a sensitive issue, and we typically only adjust to compensate for increased costs in the marketplace/inflation."
At Kunsan Air Base, the other major Air Force installation on the peninsula, the only fee increase was a hike in club dues for the various on-base clubs. But, officials said, that was a business decision, unrelated to any funding shortfalls, created by operational needs.
Those club dues had not been raised since 1988, officials with the base services support squadron said, necessitating two increases in the past year.
Those actions were “a business decision so that we could keep the current programs and benefits going,” said Donald Montgomery, chief of Kunsan’s Business Operations Flight.
“This was a result of the decline in slot revenue, but prior to our first increase last October the dues had not been raised since 1988. The dues/fees increase this past year in services were strictly business-based decisions. As far as I know we are not offsetting any loss of financial support.”