USFK enlisted leader visits Wolf Pack; Command sergeant major gets glimpse at Army Patriot mission
By Senior Airman Stephen Collier, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 13, 2006
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The United States Forces Korea senior enlisted advisor paid a visit to Charlie and Delta Patriot batteries July 5 to get a better understanding of what morale and welfare issues they faced.
“You don’t know what’s on their (Soldier’s) mind if you don’t go out and ask the question,” Command Sgt. Maj. Barry Wheeler said. “As far as the morale and welfare at Kunsan, that’s why I’m here … to see how they’re doing and see what’s on their mind. I can make better decisions on these important issues if I know how they’re doing.”
The sergeant major, who entered the Army in 1973, got an in-depth mission briefing on how the two air defense artillery batteries contribute to the defense of Korea. Also, the command sergeant major got a chance to see the future of Army and Air Force dormitories at Kunsan with a sneak-peak at the “Dorms-4-Airmen” dormitory, being constructed adjacent to the O’Malley dining facility.
The sergeant major said the goal of USFK leadership is to make an assignment to USFK “a little more normal.”
“As we reduce the number of camps and stations in Korea, we’ll be better able to offer improved services,” he said. “There is nothing about being in Korea that is a hardship except for being unaccompanied. The more normal we can make the tour, the better [off] people will be. We’ll be able to improve the dorms, the services, to include medical care, as well as base exchanges.”
As the command sergeant major finished his tour of the air defense batteries, he said he gained an invaluable perspective on what Soldiers and Airmen alike needed here.
“With everything you do, there are challenges,” he pointed out. “But as I visit servicemembers across the peninsula, they need to understand how important the work they do is. It’s important we maintain this presence on the Korean peninsula as this is an important area of the world for U.S. strategic interests. The readiness they maintain is a very important deterrence on the peninsula.”
The sergeant major also recognized people in the U.S. are talking about joint bases around the world including Iraq and Afghanistan. He singled out bases in Korea as examples because he felt these individuals “need to come to Korea because we have [joint warfare missions] going on here.”
“Nowhere in the world today will one branch of service fight by itself. You look at [Operation Iraqi Freedom] or [Operation Enduring Freedom] … these are both joint fights,” the command sergeant major said. “The old cliché of ‘one team, one fight’ is exemplified at Kunsan as well as other joint bases. We do these missions side by side and there is a lot of goodness with these missions here to include the consolidation of assets. It makes good sense to do it. You are going to fight together when you go to war … why can’t you live together too?”