OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – The 51st Fighter Wing historian, Robert Clark, recently emerged as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Department of the Air Force History and Heritage Excellence in History Program Award for his wing-level contributions for the best individual history office. The recognition serves as a testament to Clark’s unwavering commitment to improve organizational effectiveness, espirit de corps, and preservation of the Air Force’s rich history on the Korean peninsula.
Clark’s primary mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate Air Force institutional memory. This improves combat capability for the wing by having historical access to aid in critical decisions, leader development and functions as the official method of historical collection, organization and preservation.
“I believe I brought needed visibility to the 51st FW history office program,” said Clark. “When I arrived at Osan in September 2022, the history office had been vacant for nearly three years and behind on annual command history reports.”
“I caught the program up within four months and initiated an aggressive history and heritage program engagement plan to provide edification about our wing, our base, and our Air Force lineage and heritage,” he added
Clark’s efforts included spending countless hours delving into archives, conducting meticulous research, and piecing together the narratives that have shaped the Air Force and ROK story. His work was noticed by Pyeongtaek City officials and he was also awarded for his dedicated support to the USFK Historical Archives Project.
“I hope to be instrumental in getting permanent heritage displays installed and mounted across the base, while also leading outreach efforts with local cultural and heritage organizations,” Clark added. “Historical property and artifacts that provide visible testament to where we have been and come from should not be hidden in closets, storage rooms, warehouses, and dark hangars; heritage should be proudly and properly displayed.”