PACAF Band hits all the right notes with ROK Tour
By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hetlage, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 30, 2019
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The United States of America and the Republic of Korea established a historical friendship following the Korean War in 1953. One of the U.S. Air Force’s overseas regional bands visited the Republic of Korea to help reinforce that alliance.
Based out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific plays a variety of genres and consists of two different ensembles. Their mission entails reinforcing alliances, expanding partnerships and building cross-cultural trust. The Kunsan segment of their tour kicked off with back-to-back shows for 70 local children at the Ilmakwon Welfare Center. For the following show, over 200 teachers, students and parents at Okku Elementary School gathered for an engaging performance.
“I love when the crowd gets into the show,” said Senior Airman Christina Bagley, United States Air Force Band of the Pacific vocalist. “They were clapping their hands and getting really involved which makes it that much more fun to perform.”
After focusing on shows for kids, the band took the show to the first responders of Gunsan and the Republic of Korea Army. They showcased their talents in front of 130 police officers and their families at the Gunsan Korean National Police. There, the band received a special framed letter of appreciation from the chief of the police station. The following day, more than 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the ROK Army got the opportunity to hear performances from the band.
“The band was brought here to strengthen our alliance with not only the citizens but also the ROK military and civil servants,” said Master Sgt. Jeremiah True, U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific noncommissioned officer in charge. “Primarily our duty here is to spread the message that the United States is committed to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region and we cannot do that without our partnership with the Republic of Korea.”
Their final show on the Kunsan tour was for 200 members of the Gunsan chamber of commerce and their families at the Dongwoo Concert Hall. For many of the spectators, it was their first time seeing a live Air Force band performance.
“The music was so wonderful, especially the saxophone, it went perfectly with the autumn season,” said Seung Jo On, Gunsan Chamber of Commerce representative. “I appreciate the band making the trip to Korea and putting on these shows for us.”
The U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific concluded its Republic of Korea tour with a show at Osan Middle High School. Once they return to Yokota Air Base, Japan, its members will have time to relax before beginning preparations for the remainder of their tours around the Pacific.