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New runway opens, enhances readiness

An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off on the new runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan. 22, 2016. The Army Corps of Engineers, 51st Civil Engineer and Operation Support Squadron completed the five-year project to construct the new runway in January 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman/Released)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off on the new runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan. 22, 2016. The Army Corps of Engineers, 51st Civil Engineer and Operation Support Squadron completed the five-year project to construct the new runway in January 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman/Released)

F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi before takeoff on the new runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan. 22, 2016. The 51st Operations Support Squadron and 36th Fighter Squadron use the new runway to execute training and combat missions for the Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman/Released)

F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi before takeoff on the new runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan. 22, 2016. The 51st Operations Support Squadron and 36th Fighter Squadron use the new runway to execute training and combat missions for the Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman/Released)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- The Army Corps of Engineers, 51st Civil Engineer and 51st Operations Support Squadron completed a five-year project of constructing a new runway for Osan Air Base and began flying operations in January.

Osan AB has the Air Force’s oldest runway, constructed in 1952, which supported operations from the Korean War’s F-86 Sabres to today’s A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-16 Fighting Falcons.

“After over 60 years of use, our (old) runway made our increasing need of delivering air superiority a challenge,” said Johnny Duraccio, the 51st OSS airfield manager. “If one of the runways goes down due to maintenance, we have backup capabilities from the other, so we can sustain our training and combat missions.

“This new runway enhances our combat capabilities by expanding the (51st FW) commander’s vision and philosophy of ‘Fight Tonight’ readiness,” he added.

Construction on the new runway began in 2011 under the Land Partnership Plan, an agreement between U.S. Forces Korea and South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense to reshape the posture of U.S. military forces in the country.

After opening the new runway for operations, the 51st CES is scheduled to begin repairs on the old runway this fall.

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