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Traffic moves in and out of the main gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, in this undated file photo.

Traffic moves in and out of the main gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, in this undated file photo. (Franklin Fisher/Stars and Stripes)

Traffic moves in and out of the main gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, in this undated file photo.

Traffic moves in and out of the main gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, in this undated file photo. (Franklin Fisher/Stars and Stripes)

The photo depicts the interior of the visitors' center at Main Gate of Osan Air Base, South Korea, after it was re-designed.

The photo depicts the interior of the visitors' center at Main Gate of Osan Air Base, South Korea, after it was re-designed. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)

A newly installed vehicle search area inside the Main Gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, is one of numerous anti-terrorist upgrades made to two of the base gates.

A newly installed vehicle search area inside the Main Gate at Osan Air Base, South Korea, is one of numerous anti-terrorist upgrades made to two of the base gates. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Potential terrorists should find breaching the Osan Air Base gates tougher — and base residents should find using the gates easier — after a project now in its final stages is completed, base officials said.

Officials closed Doolittle Gate on July 17 so workers could install a variety of improvements including new tire shredders, pop-up wedges that put a steel barrier in the roadway; post-like barriers positioned to hinder ramming by a vehicle; new “drop-arm” vehicle barriers; a chain-link fence and landscaping. Also on the job list: re-paving the visitors’ center parking area.

The work at Doolittle Gate — scheduled to re-open Sept. 22 — marks the final stage of a $2.85 million project that began in September when officials closed the Main Gate and Beta Gate and began similar upgrades.

The Main Gate reopened June 24 after workers had built a roadside search turn-off; a new brick wall; a new, roomier guard station and a search dog kennel. They also installed pop-up wedges, barrier posts, new drop-arm vehicle barriers, tire shredders, completed new landscaping and rebuilt a stairway.

Roadways weren’t enlarged but workers changed the configuration of traffic lanes within those roadways to improve traffic flow.

The Beta Gate reopened July 17 with a new roadside turn-off, guard station, dog kennel, swing gates, chain link fence and landscaping.

The Seoung Bu Construction Co. is doing the work under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Installing anti-terrorist devices has two main aims, said Lt. Col. Randall Richert, 51st Security Forces Squadron commander.

The first is to deter terrorists by causing them to think twice about trying to breach the gates.

“When someone might be scoping out your base for an attempted entry or attempted attack, you always want to create a view that you’re a hard target,” said Richert.

The second aim, he said, is to ensure the image isn’t just image, but reality.

“We actually have created a harder target,” Richert said. “It is more difficult to get through the gates, pedestrian or vehicular, if you don’t have the correct credentials.”

With the new devices, he said, “we have time now to slow you down and catch you … if you were trying to do an overt attack, trying to ram the gates and get through.”

The changes also mean easier passage for those working on base, said Lt. Col. Chris Findall, deputy commander of the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron. “It’s improved vehicle and pedestrian flows.”

But, he said, it also helps base security troops assigned to work the gates.

“We were trying to make it better for the Security Forces personnel that have to work at the gate, make it so that they’re working in a better environment.”

Staff Sgt. Letisia Eddy, 51st Security Forces Squadron, thinks the work has improved the Main Gate for base personnel and for the security troops who work inside visitors’ center.

“You can get a lot more people in. The traffic, it just really flows now. You don’t have cars backed up into the streets,” she said.

“[There is] a lot more room now [in the visitors’ center] and it really looks nice.”


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