128 Years of Family Serving Family: Ms. Pak Chang-ok, Kunsan AB Exchange


One in a series honoring the Exchanges 128 years of family serving family

Who she is: Ms. Pak Chang-ok, food activities manager, Kunsan AB Exchange

Years with the Exchange: Ms. Pak joined the Exchange in October 1977 for a total of 47 years. “I plan to retire next year,” she says. “Koreans are required to retire at age 62 but allowed to extend to 68. Next year will be my 68th year.”

What brought her to the Exchange: “I started out with AAFES because of my mom. A long time ago, she was working on Kunsan at Pass & ID. One of her friends was the concept manager for the food court. I remember him being over at our house and my mom said I should work on base. At the time I told her, ‘No, I don’t want to work on the base.’ So after some time, he convinced me to apply, and I did. I’ve been working there ever since and have enjoyed it”.

What she’s done at the Exchange: “I started here in Kunsan in 1977 at the Snack Bar back then, where the theater is now. Then In 1988, I helped open the Anthony’s Pizza. When Kunsan’s New Food Court opened in 2004, I moved down to Gwangju Snack Bar and was a manager there. Then in 2008, I moved back to Kunsan to be the Anthony’s Pizza Manager.

Why she stayed so long: “I loved working at the Exchange. I celebrated my life here. I joined in 1977, I got married in 1982, and had my first daughter in 1983 and then my second 1985. There are a lot of memories here.”

How the population/customer base has change over the years: “it’s the exact same. Might be new people every year but throughout the years, the same number of people. Always a small place.”

What she’ll miss after retirement: “My team. They are like a second family. My family helped me all of these years.”

What she’s looking forward to in retirement: “Being able to spend time with family. My mom growing up wanted me to study more and I didn’t want to. At that time, I was married, and my thinking was, “I’m married now, I’m retired’. I later learned that wasn’t true and I have been with the Exchange ever since. After I retire in October of 2025, my husband and I plan to go to Jeju Island for a year. After that I plan to go to the states to visit my brother. I’m going to study and learn English more to make it easier when I’m there.

What she would say to her younger self if she could go back in time: (Laughing) “Study more! Listen to my mom. Also to be happy and, remember that I am blessed to have a family and a job.”

Advice for new associates joining the Exchange: “Be loyal to the small things. You have to be loyal to the small things to do big things. Also trust the process. Learn all that you can. You can’t move up quickly, learn as much as you can. Help others.”

What “family serving family” means to her: “Family serving family is my mom, me and my daughters. My mom, me and my daughters have been working on the base. My mom started at Pass & ID, I’m working here with AAFES, and my daughters work over at Civil Engineering.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Gayle Middaugh on June 27, 2024 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful career!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.