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    CE flight ensures airfield integrity

    CE flight maintains airfield integrity

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Luke Kitterman | Members of the 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron Civil Engineer Flight construct a...... read more read more

    Every time an aircraft lands or takes off from a runway, it entrusts that the ground beneath it has been cared for to the highest possible standard. However, being able to guarantee an entire airfield is safe and operative, especially in a deployed location, is no small feat.

    At Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, the members of the 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron Civil Engineer Flight are the ones making that guarantee by combating extreme weather conditions, timeworn material, and limited resources. In doing so, they ensure the integrity of the airfield and the continuation of a busy flying schedule.

    “This is not your typical Air Force CE deployment,” said Capt. Justin Iungerich, 443rd AES CE flight commander. “Most of the base is either maintained by the army or the work is contracted out. That leaves our team of Airmen dedicated strictly to the maintenance of the airfield and its facilities out there.”

    The team consists of just under two dozen Airmen hailing from different locations across the U.S. and Europe, including California, New York, Illinois and Germany. Combining their expertise, they contribute a large part of their time to a specific type of work called Airfield Damage Repair, or ADR.

    “During ADR, we are responsible for completing spall repairs,” explained Iungerich. “A spall repair is a shallow break on any of the airfield pavements including runways, taxiways, ramps, and parking aprons.”

    Spalls can appear because rebar has been exposed and humidity and water have begun to rust the rebar, or because the concrete joints were improperly built. As weather changes, the concrete expands, causing it to spall, which leads to further deterioration.

    Earlier this month, the CE flight teamed up with U.S. Marine Corps and Iraqi Armed Forces to perform eight emergency spall repairs.

    “We placed 4,000lbs of concrete throughout the two 2.5-mile runways and reopened Iraq’s largest airfield in less than four hours per repair,” said Iungerich. “We have got a great team out here that has a terrific attitude to handle that type of work. I think it is exciting for them because they get to see aircraft take off from the runway they just repaired so they know they are making a direct impact on the mission.”

    When the team isn’t fixing pavement discrepancies, they often use their time to aid in other areas of the airfield such as the construction of additional sections to the perimeter wall.

    Using HESCO barriers, collapsible wire mesh containers lined with heavy duty fabric that when filled with gravel acts as a temporary wall against threats, the team can quickly increase the security of the airfield.

    A wall is simple in its function and can sometimes be an afterthought taken for granted. Yet, it is this type of essential ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that is common throughout the entire 443rd AES and does not go unnoticed by its leadership.

    “We are very unique in that we do so many tasks as a squadron to support the mission here,” said Lt. Col. Chas Smith, 443rd AES commander and senior airfield authority. “With over 30 different career fields, we have a versatility that provides a range of capabilities to this base, as shown by the CE team and so many others.”



    Date Taken: 05.13.2019
    Date Posted: 07.26.2019 08:07
    Story ID: 333131
    Location: IQ

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