Wolf Pack Airmen Get Glimpse of Local Culture, Future Plans
By Senior Airman Jessica Hines
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – A group of Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing received a special tour of Kunsan Air Base’s neighboring city of Gunsan June 20.
The Gunsan City Cultural Tour showcased the unique culture of the area, giving each attendee a chance to experience pieces of Gunsan’s past, present and future.
Starting off with a visit to the Gunsan Modern History Museum, guests wandered through exhibits of Korean heritage ranging from artifacts nearly 1,000 years old to an authentic replicated 1930s Korean village.
Airmen were also treated to a traditional Korean meal with the Deputy Mayor of Gunsan, Kang Seung-goo, as a special guest.
Following lunch, Airmen visited one of Gunsan’s most exciting industrial projects, the Saemangeum Land Recovery Project; an estimated value of more than $10 billion, scheduled for completion in 2030.
“It shows you the ingenuity of the Korean people, which we’ve really seen since the end of the Korean War. You know why the country is thriving so well,” said Col. Douglas J. Nikolai, 8th FW vice commander.
As part of the development, the Saemangeum Seawall holds the record for the world’s longest man-made sea barrier and is a key component of the land recovery project.
Airmen and visitors were shown a scale model of what the future city is projected to look like, which include plans for self-sustaining “green” energy.
“The entrepreneurship of the Korean people is just amazing,” said Nikolai, commenting on how much has changed since his last assignment in Korea in the early ’90s.
Staff Sgt. Michelle Barto, 8th FW Judge Advocate’s Office, said that while she has been out to Gunsan City on her own since being stationed in South Korea, seeing the future development of the area would definitely encourage her to return and visit in the future.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and I would like to come back even though I might not be in the military in 2030,” said Barto.
The tour also included visits to a shipyard and distilled rice liquor factory, which showed the long process behind South Korea’s distinguished native beverage dating back to the 13th century – soju.
Whether it’s a service member’s first time to South Korea, or their second or third, every Airman can find a unique and thriving cultural atmosphere deeply rooted in tradition and dedicated to the future.
This article was originally published at: http://www.kunsan.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123307356