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Installation Overview --Osan Air Base, South Korea

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Installation Overview --Osan Air Base, South Korea

Songtan City View

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

From a family viewpoint, there are two types of tours for military personnel in Korea. Of approximately 37,000 US military positions in Korea, only about 3,000 are command sponsored two-year tours which permit families at government expense and allow a full range of government benefits. All command sponsored billet must be applied for and approved through the stateside MPF. Out of the 7000 personnel assigned to Osan, approximately 400 are command sponsored. Most command sponsored billets are for mission essential positions. The remainder are unaccompanied tours, also known as "noncommand sponsored "hardship" or "remote" tours. Because Korea is a potential combat zone, for security and evacuation purposes, the number of family members in country has been restricted. To enforce this, the US Congress has severely limited the military benefits normally available to families. Command sponsored families have full access to base exchanges, commissary, medical care, schools and other facilities. They are authorized to live in government housing, or if it's not available, receive financial assistance with their rent. The sponsor's ration control spending limits reflect the actual family size. Personnel on an unaccompanied tour are not authorized to bring families to Korea. If families are left behind in the States, they may receive housing, exchange, commissary, medical and other benefits at a military installation near their home, and are eligible to be moved to a DESIGNATED LOCATION that is cited in the member's PCS orders at full government expense.

If a service member DOES ELECT to relocate his non-command sponsored dependents to Korea, transportation costs--per diem and with dependent rate Dislocation Allowance ARE NOT payable. Depending on the job and its location, the servicemember may be required to live in the barracks, dormitory or BEQ/BOQ. This is considered a potential combat area and not suitable for family members. In any case, a non-command sponsored family is not authorized government quarters or financial assistance in paying off-base rent. Medical and dental care is provided on a space available basis to all family members. Even when care is available, the family may not live near the medical facility and may have difficulty getting there. Personnel below grade TSG are not authorized to register a privately owned vehicle in USFK. Ration control restrictions on non-command sponsored personnel may also cause personal hardship. School age children who are not command sponsored are authorized attendance at Department of Defense schools only on a space-available basis. However, no children are being accepted at most schools because the schools are at or near maximum capacity. Currently, children must either interrupt their schooling, be tutored at home, or attend private schools in the community which can be a serious educational hardship for children and a financial hardship for the family.

Readers Respond: Experiences at Osan Air Base, South Korea

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