8th CES repairs Kunsan’s runway in record time

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Schelli Jones
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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 from May 1 to May 2, 2019.

At approximately 9 a.m. on May 1st, a rupture was discovered on Kunsan’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 (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,” said Busch. “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 was seven feet by eight feet on the surface and four feet deep and caused by water erosion over the years.  

“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 comprised of Airmen from the 8th CES and 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 7 to 28 days for concrete to dry 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 Civil Engineer Squadron Commander. “The Red Devil Engineers proved once again why they are legendary for readiness, expertise, and work ethic.”