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Skaters bring community, kickflips to Wolf Pack

Service members sit on a skate ramp.

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator; U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician; U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic; and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, relax on a skate ramp during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airmen skateboards.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, executes a trick on a rail during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman talks to his friends.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, talks with his friends during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

A soldier leans on his skateboard.

U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic, leans on his skateboard in the skatepark at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman repositions a traffic cone.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, repositions a traffic cone during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman does a trick on his skateboard.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician, does a trick during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman points to the sky.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, points to the sky during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The Wolf Pack skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers, learn from each other through skating tricks at the Wolf Pack Skatepark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman holds his skateboard.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Cameron Kennedy, assigned to the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, holds his skateboard during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman changes his trucks.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, changes his skateboard trucks during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman smiles.
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, smiles during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

Service members arrive at a skatepark.
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U.S. service members arrive at the Kunsan Skate Park at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman does an ollie.
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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jaymes George, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, ollies during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman skateboards.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician, ollies during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

Service members frequently consider one another brothers and sisters in arms when they share blood, sweat and tears in service to their country. Coincidentally, those same sacrifices are made at the skatepark of Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

The park has brought U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Air Force Airmen together outside of the active mission at the Wolf Pack where they can bond through the art of skateboarding.

“When I first got here to Korea, I would come to the skatepark and it was lonely,” said U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic.

The park, empty and cold, much like the winter season, began to show promise for Hernandez as time marched on.

“When the summer hit, I saw some of the other guys out there, and I got added to a group chat,” he said. “We skate with each other almost every day now.”

Nearly every day after work now, Hernandez and his fellow skaters gather at the Wolf Pack Skatepark. They all dedicate their last hours of sunlight to trying new tricks, then rest to do it all again the next day.

“When you finally land that trick… Whether you fall on the ground or you land it, you’re reminded of what it’s like to truly feel like you’re alive,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician. “You finally did that after so many attempts.”

The Airmen and Soldiers who gather at the park are ultimately proud of the skills they achieve, why? Because it takes practice and determination.

“The skateboard park is a place to learn,” Hernandez explained. “[These skaters] have a determination to learn something.”

Across the board, these brothers-in-arms have all recognized the hardships skating, let alone military life, can bring, and use their daily sessions as opportunities to uplift each other.

“Skating is hard,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator. “It takes a lot of mental fortitude and determination to try and land a trick. The process of growing as a skater is hard, and everybody knows that. When you see someone struggling, we understand because we’ve all been there.

“Nobody can just get on a skateboard and start busting out tricks like Tony Hawk,” Horsley continued. “Everybody has started off barely being able to push down the street. You’re going to fall and you’re going to get hurt and everybody that skates knows and feels that. I think that’s what brings us all together.”

It can be said the bonds of being together in military service can transcend those of everyday hobbies or skills. However, being part of the Kunsan skating community means a great deal to those within it.

“The community is everything to me,” Foster said. “I’ve only been skating for a year, but I used to come out here alone until I met them and it changed my whole experience here at Kunsan. Ever since I started skating with them, I feel motivated.”

Whether you can hardly stand up on a skateboard, or execute an advanced trick like a 180-degree spin effortlessly, the rules of the skating community don’t change: You will always be welcome as a member of the pack.

“Once you start, you’ll always be a part of the group,” Horsley said. “For example “Phoenix” (Col. Todd Wydra, 8th Maintenance Group commander), who hasn’t skateboarded in so long, is still down for the culture. He showed up one day in OCPs and got on his board with us. It doesn’t stop. It just doesn’t end here.

“I’ve grown to love skateboarding, not because it's some sport, but because of the community and culture,” he continued. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

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Skaters bring community, kickflips to Wolf Pack

Service members sit on a skate ramp.

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator; U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician; U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic; and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, relax on a skate ramp during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airmen skateboards.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, executes a trick on a rail during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman talks to his friends.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, talks with his friends during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

A soldier leans on his skateboard.

U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic, leans on his skateboard in the skatepark at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman repositions a traffic cone.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, repositions a traffic cone during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman does a trick on his skateboard.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician, does a trick during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 16, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman points to the sky.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, points to the sky during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The Wolf Pack skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers, learn from each other through skating tricks at the Wolf Pack Skatepark. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman holds his skateboard.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Cameron Kennedy, assigned to the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels distribution operator, holds his skateboard during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman changes his trucks.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator, changes his skateboard trucks during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. Skateboarding was discovered nearly 80 years ago, and has evolved from makeshift square wooden boxes with roller skate wheels to the advancements of electric skateboards, and skateparks being built on U.S. military installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman smiles.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 13

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. T.J. Brown, 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions technician, smiles during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skatepark located at Kunsan AB is home to the skating community for recreational skating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

Service members arrive at a skatepark.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 13

U.S. service members arrive at the Kunsan Skate Park at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman does an ollie.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 13

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jaymes George, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, ollies during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

An Airman skateboards.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician, ollies during a skating session at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 11, 2021. The skating community, consisting of U.S. Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers ranging from E-2 to O-6, meet at the Wolf Pack Skatepark nearly every day to skate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

Service members frequently consider one another brothers and sisters in arms when they share blood, sweat and tears in service to their country. Coincidentally, those same sacrifices are made at the skatepark of Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

The park has brought U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Air Force Airmen together outside of the active mission at the Wolf Pack where they can bond through the art of skateboarding.

“When I first got here to Korea, I would come to the skatepark and it was lonely,” said U.S. Army Private First Class Antonio Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery wheeled vehicle mechanic.

The park, empty and cold, much like the winter season, began to show promise for Hernandez as time marched on.

“When the summer hit, I saw some of the other guys out there, and I got added to a group chat,” he said. “We skate with each other almost every day now.”

Nearly every day after work now, Hernandez and his fellow skaters gather at the Wolf Pack Skatepark. They all dedicate their last hours of sunlight to trying new tricks, then rest to do it all again the next day.

“When you finally land that trick… Whether you fall on the ground or you land it, you’re reminded of what it’s like to truly feel like you’re alive,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Troy Foster, 8th Communications Squadron network control center technician. “You finally did that after so many attempts.”

The Airmen and Soldiers who gather at the park are ultimately proud of the skills they achieve, why? Because it takes practice and determination.

“The skateboard park is a place to learn,” Hernandez explained. “[These skaters] have a determination to learn something.”

Across the board, these brothers-in-arms have all recognized the hardships skating, let alone military life, can bring, and use their daily sessions as opportunities to uplift each other.

“Skating is hard,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Davin Horsley, 8th Security Forces Squadron evaluator. “It takes a lot of mental fortitude and determination to try and land a trick. The process of growing as a skater is hard, and everybody knows that. When you see someone struggling, we understand because we’ve all been there.

“Nobody can just get on a skateboard and start busting out tricks like Tony Hawk,” Horsley continued. “Everybody has started off barely being able to push down the street. You’re going to fall and you’re going to get hurt and everybody that skates knows and feels that. I think that’s what brings us all together.”

It can be said the bonds of being together in military service can transcend those of everyday hobbies or skills. However, being part of the Kunsan skating community means a great deal to those within it.

“The community is everything to me,” Foster said. “I’ve only been skating for a year, but I used to come out here alone until I met them and it changed my whole experience here at Kunsan. Ever since I started skating with them, I feel motivated.”

Whether you can hardly stand up on a skateboard, or execute an advanced trick like a 180-degree spin effortlessly, the rules of the skating community don’t change: You will always be welcome as a member of the pack.

“Once you start, you’ll always be a part of the group,” Horsley said. “For example “Phoenix” (Col. Todd Wydra, 8th Maintenance Group commander), who hasn’t skateboarded in so long, is still down for the culture. He showed up one day in OCPs and got on his board with us. It doesn’t stop. It just doesn’t end here.

“I’ve grown to love skateboarding, not because it's some sport, but because of the community and culture,” he continued. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”