Osan Military Info

Dorm Room

Don't expect much from the dorm rooms. I am in building 1012; it is supposedly only 8 years old, but Korea standard, looks like it is 50. They don't use filters in the forced air system; everyone closes their vents because they spew out black stuff -- someone said it is from interior insulation on the ductwork. The black stuff is in every building. I took a coathanger, made a square frame, wrapped a towel around it, and shoved the whole thing back in the vent; Catches most of the black stuff and gets rid of the jet-engine noise from the vent. I change rags about once per week -- they are completely black. Vents (the inner part) remove by pushing the spring loaded bracket to one side (there is only one way it will move) and then the fixed bracket will clear the frame and allow the vent to rotate down. The carpet needs shampoo'd (turns feet and socks black), blinds are bent and dirty, the oven vent hasn't worked for over a month, the bathtub hot water leaks and turns the tub green. I removed the water restrictor from my showerhead (pliers, $3.99 from BX), almost makes for a decent shower. You'll have to bring/buy your own shower curtain. The Pur waterfilter is a must if you wish to drink "tap" water.

Cars and Taxis

You can easily get by with no car here; in fact, it may be easier and cheaper to not own one. You certainly do not need a car for on-base travel. Korea is crowded and the cars get banged up quickly; I do not suggest bringing a nice car here. The main brands of car, and parts you'll be able to get, are Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo, and Samsung. You can purchase a "kimchi" car for anywhere from $100-3000. Most fall in the $500-1000 range. Somebody is always leaving and trying to get rid of a car.

A friend sold me this awesome car for $1. It got washed yesterday (rain), just for the photos. The 0-60 times are absolutely phenomenal, the abundant power of the 1.5L, 4 Cyl, SOHC engine will really throw you back in the seat. So far I have changed the oil, coolant, and air filter. Almost everything works and the car sailed through emissions testing. It has power windows up front, the back are manual. No power steering. A/C works great so far, but it is 30°F outside. The heater works well. It has 3 out of four hubcaps...at least for now.

You must get a SOFA driver's license within 30 days of your arrival. Your squadron VCO will get you an appointment for the test; it can take up to 3 weeks to get an appointment, so start early. Appropriately highlighted gouge should be available in your duty section. Liability insurance is $69/6 months through USAA. The seller must have a current inspection within the past 30 days from the base gas station or auto hobby shop.

They have AAFES taxis available everywhere on base. Most medium sized towns in the USA don't have as many taxis. It is $1.50 to get in one and you probably can't spend more than $2 getting anywhere on base. They also go off base. People even take a taxi to/from the gym; seems to defeat the purpose. I have only used a taxi to carry my chem gear from the issue point back to the hotel.

They price gas on base (Price 13 Feb.) as an average of US prices. Gas off base is about $1.35/liter or 5 bucks a gallon. Here is a list of military gas stations and other driving info in Korea.

On/Off Base Housing and TLA

Since I'm only going to be here a year, I really didn't want to mess with living off base. By waiting for on-base housing I get to stay in the Turumi and collect $40/day TLA. Although it used to be you could move right into on base dorms, there is currently a wait of about 40 days.

Living off base will provide you with a larger and nicer place. The government will pay your rent up to a certain maximum and everyone has said they break even on utilities. You will get DLA if you didn't get it when you left. You are still bound by the curfew, you probably won't have a clothes dryer, and you'll need a car. I didn't ship any furniture and I really don't want to buy any for just one year.

Incheon Airport

They are finally getting rid of the "Patriot Express" -- i.e. rotator. At least now you'll get frequent flier miles for sitting on a plane for 14 hours. The major disadvantage is you'll fly into Incheon instead of directly to Osan. This slide show shows the airport layout, not much to it, and a little about Seoul. Go to the USO once you clear customs and have them point you to the right bus. The bus to Osan AB costs $20 US and drops you off across from the Turumi (billeting). The bus to Songtan is about 6000 won ($6) and drops you off a few blocks from the front gate.

Someone Else's Opinion

I do not know the author of this, but I found it useful. If you wrote it and want credit, send me an e-mail. Remote to Osan.doc

Copyright 2005. Del Johnson.