News: 100th CES ‘Dirt Boys’ cement relationships, partnerships with Hill AFB reservists
RAF MILDENHALL, England - Piles of steaming asphalt were transformed into a short section of road July 12, when active-duty members from the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron Heavy Horizontal flight, along with reservists from 419th Civil Engineer Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, worked together to get the job done.
A team of 52 reservists from the 419th CES recently spent two weeks at RAF Mildenhall receiving valuable training.
The road in the 100th Logistics Readiness Compound area was completely resurfaced after it had become unsafe due to wear and tear over the years.
"Our usual day-to-day job mainly consists of daily sweep operations - our main priority is to keep the airfield free of (foreign object debris)," said Senior Airman Billy Crocker, 100th CES Heavy Horizontal pavements and construction journeyman. "We also take care of the recurring work program for all the soakaways on base, both on the streets and the airfield, sucking out the stuff clogging up the drains, so rainwater can drain away."
The Hughes Springs, Texas, native added that they also do block paving work. While they don't build sidewalks from scratch, if any repairs are needed the heavy horizontal guys - more commonly known as "Dirt Boys" - take care of the maintenance by taking out the bricks, repairing the area and replacing them.
"Typically, we don't usually do these type of jobs, so when the reservists come in, they help us with this type of projects that we aren't normally able to do," said Crocker. "Something like this would normally be contracted out because we don't have the manpower to do it. Having these guys here helps us and the base saves money as we don't have to pay contractors to do it."
The "Dirt Boys" use a variety of equipment, ranging from rollers to backhoes, graders, loaders and tractor-trailers to bulldozers.
Asphalting the road, they used a roller and grader to smooth out the hot pile of asphalt, then both active duty and reservists worked together to spread it out before it was then smoothed over with a grader and flattened by a roller.
"Every year, our reservists do their annual two-week tour for training," said Senior Master Sgt. Lori Noble, 419th CES superintendent. "Our shops come out to different bases to complete projects and get some training.
"Doing this helps hone our skills and learn new tricks, so when to we go out to a war zone, we're more prepared and better equipped to take care of the mission," she said. "Training alongside the active duty also builds their confidence in [our] capabilities. When we work together, we bring different trades and skills. Our people do [many of these] jobs in the civilian world, so it makes us more cohesive when we deploy."
The 419th CES deployed to Afghanistan from July 2010 to March 2011, and were the second reserve unit to deploy in support of the U.S. Army.
"We'd leave the main base at Bagram and went out to smaller [forward-operating bases and combat outposts] to provide help," Noble said. "Some of the smaller outposts had been without showers for four months - but within four hours, we had the showers operating. The Army was quite happy, to say the least!"
The superintendent said a lot of their work while deployed included building structures which would become chow halls and billets. A lot of the other jobs, such as repairing leaking roofs, were quality-of-life jobs.
"It was nice to be able to help our own," she said.
Noble, from Syracuse, Utah, said although civil engineer-based, their civilian jobs are quite different to their reservist duties.
"We brought firefighters, refrigeration specialists, electricians and a host of other CE-type jobs," she said. "Most of our troops have multiple talents - some are electricians in the civilian world but work in heavy equipment as their reservist duty. We have a lot of different skill sets, so we can pull from all of them to get the job done."
Noble explained that some of their reservists have been in the unit for 20 years, providing their team with a firm continuity foundation.
Date Posted:07.19.2012 04:08
Location:RAF MILDENHALL, ABE, GB
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