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8th CES repairs Kunsan AB’s runway in record time

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Christopher Leonard, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction equipment journeyman, adjusts his face mask while pouring cement at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron dug out a corroded pipe that caused a rupture and restored the site in less than 24 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Leonard, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction equipment journeyman, adjusts his face mask while pouring cement at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th CES dug out a corroded pipe that caused a rupture and restored the site in less than 24 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

U.S. Air Force 8th Civil Engineer Squadron members smooth concrete on the flight line at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th CES applied rapid airfield damage repair methods to fix a rupture that caused damage to the flight line. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

8th Civil Engineer Squadron members smooth concrete on the flightline at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th CES applied rapid airfield damage repair methods to fix a rupture that caused damage to the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

(Right) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steven Uhlbeck, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction equipment journeyman, assists Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Deptula, 8th CES, with smoothing wet concrete on the flight line at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th CES applied rapid airfield damage repair methods to fix a rupture that caused damage to the flight line. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

Senior Airman Steven Uhlbeck (right), 8th Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction equipment journeyman, assists Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Deptula, 8th CES, with smoothing wet concrete on the flightline at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th CES applied rapid airfield damage repair methods to fix a rupture that caused damage to the flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, the Legendary Red Devils, completed a repair on a 7 foot by 8 foot surface and 4 foot deep sinkhole on the runway at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron and 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron made the flight line operational again just 24 hours after it was shut down to repair a sinkhole. (Courtesy photo)

The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, the Legendary Red Devils, completed a repair on a 7 foot by 8 foot surface and 4-foot deep sinkhole on the runway at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 2, 2019. The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron and 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron made the flightline operational again just 24 hours after it was shut down to repair a sinkhole. (Courtesy photo)

A U.S. Air Force 8th Civil Engineer Squadron member uses an excavator-mounted hydraulic jackhammer to break apart concrete at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 1, 2019. The 8th CES provided emergency repairs to the flight line to make it operational within 24 hours after it was closed unexpectedly due to a rupture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

A 8th Civil Engineer Squadron member uses an excavator-mounted hydraulic jackhammer to break apart concrete at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, May 1, 2019. The 8th CES provided emergency repairs to the flightline to make it operational within 24 hours after it was closed unexpectedly due to a rupture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) --

Members of the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, also known as the Legendary Red Devils, rapidly repaired a rupture on Kunsan Air Base’s active runway in record time, May 1-2.

At approximately 9 a.m. May 1, a rupture was discovered on Kunsan AB’s runway and Col. John Bosone, 8th Fighter Wing commander, immediately suspended all military and civilian flying operations to ensure the safety and security of people and assets. He also directed an investigation into the cause of the rupture.

“This is a pretty non-standard occurrence,” said Maj. Alyson Busch, 8th CES operations flight commander. “We had to take our time and figure out the fastest and safest course of action not only for the U.S. Air Force, but also our Korean partners and civilian airframes and personnel.”

An engineering assessment is normally a lengthy process that includes a contract repair. Since this rupture affected an active runway, the 8th CES used Rapid Airfield Damage Repair, or RADR, techniques to replace the pavement immediately.

“RADR is a new capability for the Air Force and the 8th CES has been training on it constantly,” Busch said. “After evaluating the cause, we determined this was the best option to repair the runway in a timely manner.”

A thorough analysis determined the rupture, caused by water erosion over the years, was seven feet by eight feet on the surface and four feet deep. 

“This was important to fix because it is a safety hazard,” said Airman 1st Class Curtis Carroll, 8th CES pavement and construction journeyman. “Planes come and land all the time and we wouldn’t want an incident where if an aircraft lands, it just caves in completely.”

In a matter of hours, a 30-member team of Airmen from the 8th CES and the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron worked through the night to repair the rupture through excavation, compacting and placing rapid-set concrete.

The rapid-set concrete cured in a few hours. It typically takes seven to 28 days for concrete to set through the traditional repair method. However, RADR techniques expedited the process and enabled the runway to open in record time.

“The quick repair of the runway was the first use of RADR on a primary runway outside an active combat zone, and this capability has now proven incredibly important in both wartime and peacetime,” said Lt. Col. John Conner, 8th CES commander. “The Red Devil engineers proved once again why they are legendary for readiness, expertise and work ethic.”

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