A sweep

No I am not talking about sports or a broom. This is very Kunsan specific.

Kunsan is known as the last ‘real’ fighter base. ‘The wild wild west of the Air Force,’ to quote my old boss. With that comes lots of habitual drinking, working 12+ hours a day, curfew and the concept of a sweep.

A sweep is for any ‘named’ person, pilot or friend, that is leaving Korea. Sweeps, as with most traditions, have a varying set of events. A schedule, if you will:

Event 1: Everyone rally at the squadron bar

Event 2: Tell embarrassing stories about the person that is leaving. Note – 1. you must put your hand in a bowl of ice water to ensure that you don’t talk for too long (fighter pilots like to talk, especially in front of a crowd) Note – 2. Women are excused from this rule, as from most rules w/ fighter squadrons, like paying fees to the bar. The youngest pilot instead puts his hand in for her

Event 3: We roll to A-town. Note – A-town deserves a post of its own so I will spare the details of this Korean area. Just know it means “America town” (now recently renamed to ‘international village’ to be PC…however noone buys it and still calls it A-town)

Take me to A-town

Event 4: Eat bulgogi, drink Hite beer, say individual goodbyes, have a wrestling match in the middle of the bar and crowd surf

Even the squadron mascot drinks Hite

Event 5: Have punk breakfast – at 2am.

Event 6: Keep drinking until you are forced to sleep

Sunday = sunday, funday. Mimosa’s at the squadron bar to talk about the festivities of the night before and recover before the 12 hour work week starts up again.

Yes, sweeps. A Kunsan tradition and just one of the few memorable events of being stationed at the Kun.

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