Taegu unit gets new commander
Stars and Stripes June 27, 2003
TAEGU, South Korea — Strengthening ties with South Korea’s air force is among the key goals of the new commander of a U.S. Air Force logistics unit at Taegu Air Base.
Lt. Col. Michael E. Pelletier took over the 607th Support Squadron on Monday, replacing Lt. Col. Charles J. Westgate III, who had led the squadron since June 2002.
The squadron occupies an American compound within the South Korean air force installation at Taegu Air Base, also known as K-2. It’s home to the South Korean 11th Fighter Wing.
The Air Force “stood up,” or activated, the 607th Support Squadron two years ago and gave it two main jobs.
One is to keep large stores of war materiel in a “high state of repair and readiness” so the base quickly can be expanded to full-scale combat operations in the event of war or other crises.
Pelletier invoked that mission in formal remarks at Monday’s change-of-command ceremony at K-2.
“I … look forward to continuing to forge a strong relationship with our Republic of Korea Air Force counterparts,” he told an audience of about 80.
“Our mutual interest in defending the peninsula from aggression from North Korea gives us unity of purpose. It is my intention to have a contingency operating base that is turn-key, so that incoming forces may quickly be bedded down and take the fight to the enemy in minimal time.”
The squadron’s other primary function is providing daily airfield support for a U.S. Army special operations helicopter unit, Company E, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). It also occupies space on K-2’s American compound.
Since its inception, the squadron has undergone major construction and renovation of facilities including hangars, barracks, a gym and dining hall.
“Two years ago, I visited this squadron while escorting some distinguished visitors,” he said. “The building we’re standing in was just a metal skeleton with a roof and the new squadron headquarters didn’t even exist.
“The squadron has come a long way in the short time since it has been stood up. It is my intention to continue the standard of excellence they’ve established and continue to develop Taegu Air Base into the premier contingency base, while continuing to provide excellent support to the 160th SOAR.”
A native of Livonia, Mich., Pelletier entered the Air Force in 1985 through the Reserve Officer Training Program. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering.
Westgate will become deputy maintenance group commander at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., said 1st Lt. Mary Lee of the 607th Support Squadron.