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    Moody engineers build bridges for D-Day 75

    Moody engineers build bridges for D-Day 75

    Photo By Senior Airman Hayden Legg | Airmen from the 23d Civil Engineer Squadron pose for a photo, June 5, 2019, in...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Hayden Legg 

    23rd Wing

    Airmen from the 23d Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) traveled to Normandy, France to support the Commemoration of D-Day 75 ceremony from May 27 to June 10, 2019.

    Part of the ceremony involved the reenactment of a historic jump by military parachutists. A team of 14 engineers provided structural support for the event by repairing and building bridges used to access hard-to-reach the drop zone in case recovery was needed.

    “Our direct tasks were to construct several structures, from bridges to walls, that enabled the multi-day event to be a huge success,” said Lt. Col. Michael Francis, 23d CES commander. “Not only for the numerous world leaders in attendance, but more importantly the World War II and D-Day veterans and their families who were able to make that trip back.”

    Accomplishing the mission required effort from Airmen of different career fields within the CES.

    “We had a wide variety [of engineers] ranging from [firefighters] to [structures] to [engineer assistants] to pest management,” Airman 1st Class Hunter Weslow, 23d CES structural engineer Weslow said. “It helps them learn our job a little bit better and get to connect with people around the squadron that aren’t in [their] shop.”

    Under the lead of four structural engineers, the remaining 10 Airmen received on-the-job training in carpentry.

    Having a team with a unique combination of skillsets is not uncommon for civil engineers. They regularly deploy in mixed groups. This gives them the versatility to take on a wider range of problems that may arise. Problems like finding a power source for their tools.

    “The Army let us borrow a generator, and we’ve got a power [production] troop here and that is what their knowledge is on,” said Staff Sgt. Bryce Belanger, 23d CES structural engineer. “I would be flipping buttons and hoping that it worked, he knew what he was doing and was able to turn it on easily so that we could get to work.”

    In addition to getting a taste of career fields outside of their own, the other Airmen learned about the unique challenges that come with structural work. They were given a basic outline for how the bridges should be built, but the structural engineer’s expertise was needed to draft blueprints and create a list of required materials.

    “We have to have the designs, then obviously the materials to go with the designs,” Belanger said.

    To find the materials they needed, the engineers had to search the local area for a supplier, match prices to ensure they stayed under their budget and determine whether or not they were able to get everything they needed on time. That kind of work is hard enough to accomplish back home, and being in a foreign country only made it harder.

    “We had to go to places [where they] don’t speak English, and we had to use translators on our phones,” Weslow said. “And a 2x4 is not a 2x4 here, it’s in millimeters. So we had to [convert] that.”

    Despite the challenges sourcing materials, the Airmen were able to obtain everything they needed to get the job done. After two days of planning, four days of construction, a day of installation and one or two rain delays, the bridges were in place and ready to be utilized. Though everyone planned for the jump to go smoothly, the parachutists could rest assured knowing recovery was made possible by the 23d CES.

    “It was an incredible honor and privilege for our 23d CES Engineers to be invited to support U.S. European Command’s efforts to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing on the beaches and surrounding countryside of Normandy,” Francis said.



    Date Taken: 05.27.2019
    Date Posted: 06.28.2019 13:40
    Story ID: 329655
    Location: NORMANDY, FR

    Web Views: 75
    Downloads: 0