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    A Heritage of Excellence: Crossbow Civil Engineers lead the way

    A Heritage of Excellence: Crossbow Civil Engineers lead the way

    Courtesy Photo | 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron Emblem: Ultramarine blue and Air Force yellow are ...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Chandler Baker  

    Joint Base Langley-Eustis Public Affairs

    The 633rd Civil Engineering Squadron activated on January 15, 1967. Prior to this date the unit and personnel were a division of the 633rd Combat Support Group at Pleiku Air Base, former Republic of Vietnam.
    The 633rd CES maintained facilities, built schools for the indigenous population and grated both military and civilian roads. The fire department handled structural fires and crash recovery operations while explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians eliminated extremely dangerous threats to Americans and their Vietnamese allies.
    Along with the 633rd Security Police Squadron, the civil engineers took the initiative and helped construct defensive positions at Pleiku, receiving praise as providing the best sector in the former South Vietnam in the aftermath of the 1968 Tet Offensive. In the aftermath of an attack, the EOD operators went outside the wire to inspect sites from where the enemy was believed to have attacked the base. These professionals often recovered weaponry and ammunition ranging from U.S.-made, Soviet-made and even items of French construction.
    The 633rd CES also provided desperately needed housing with the Government of Vietnam social welfare office. The engineers focused their efforts on maintaining and repairing existing structures and the 819th Red Horse Squadron constructed the majority of new facilities. Additionally, the 633rd CES protected the community of leprosy patients through construction of a clinic in 1969. Such actions directly led to the 633rd CSG’s selection as winner of the 7th Air Force Commander’s Management Competition for Support Activities, October – December 1968.
    The sun set for the final time on the 633rd CSG on March 15, 1970 and Pleiku Air Base was turned over to the former Republic of Vietnam Air Force in accordance with the Vietnamization program and the Commander in Chief, Pacific Command, Operations Plan, CORONA HARVEST.
    The 633rd CES answered the nation’s call once again on October 1, 1989 when it activated underneath the 633rd Air Base Wing and redesignated it as the 633rd Engineer Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. On the island, facility repair was a top priority. However, the crash recovery prospects grew in intensity as the island served as the Pacific Ocean platform for Strategic Air Command’s deterrence mission supported by the B-52 Stratofortress. In addition to routine operations, the engineers lent a hand to American refugees fleeing the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo on Operation FIERY VIGIL, when 21,635 evacuees arrived at Andersen by ship and aircraft.
    Natural disasters continued to affect the wing during their time at Andersen. Typhoon Omar struck first in 1992 and on August 8, 1993, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck the island resulting in widespread destruction. A fire broke out on the 15th floor of the air traffic control tower after major swaying, over 90,000 bombs fell off their storage racks, water and power were lost and two personnel sustained injuries. Repairs began in earnest and the base recovered swiftly and lent assistance where possible.
    On October 1, 1994, the flag of the 633rd ABW again furled until activated at a new home.
    Langley Air Force Base originally fell under the purview of the storied 1st Fighter Wing, but the scale and scope of joint basing required a new approach that would allow the fighter wing to focus on its air-superiority mission. On January 7, 2010 the 633rd ABW reactivated and the CES came alongside it.
    In 2014, the engineers implemented a new and novel preventative-maintenance approach to facility maintenance at JBLE. With cost effective benefits and a robust inspection schedule, the quality of life on the installation improved and resource allocation became further refined. Now in 2021, the process is improving again—one success leading to another.
    Today, the 633rd ABW serves as the first step in the broader kinetic and non kinetic kill chain approach to combat at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The 633rd CES provides military and civilian Airmen to prepare and sustain natural and built infrastructure on the oldest active Air Force airfield valued at over $521 million. The squadron designs, constructs, repairs and protects facilities and 3,644 acres to support all JBLE personnel, and $2.4 billion in mission assets.
    In 2020, the 633rd CES readied itself to continue its mission to, “produce expeditionary Airmen, deploy ready to win and provide world class support to team Langley.” Like other squadrons, the unit fell under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and responded accordingly with modified operations and expectations.
    The engineers assisted the 633rd Medical Group in standing up COVID-19 testing equipment and tents, while HVAC Airmen and Water and Fuels Systems Maintenance personnel handled climate control and sanitary needs of the facilities. The rapid testing location enabled medical personnel to screen 7,800 Airmen in a three day period. In September 2020, engineers tied the site into the electrical grid for enduring operation; ensuring the success of an additional 27,000 military and civilian personnel screened.
    The 633rd CES has earned the following distinctions to date.
    • Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device: 1 May 1966 – 30 Apr 1967; 15 Jul 1968 – 31 May 1969.
    • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 May 1966 -15 Mar 1970.
    • Campaign Streamers: Vietnam Air Offensive; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air/Ground; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV; TET 69/Counteroffensive; Vietnam, Summer-Fall, 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring, 1970.
    • Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 3 Jun 1990-1 Jun 1992; 1 Aug 1992-31 Jul 1994; 1 Jun 2012 – 31 May 2014; 1 Jun 2014 – 31 May 2016; 1 Jun 2016 – 31 May 2017; 1 Jun 2017 – 31 May 2018; 1 Jun 2018 – 31 May 2020.
    “The Air Force Civil Engineer, Brig. Gen. William Kale, recently released 6 Civil Engineer ‘Truths’ that are the foundation of what we do as Civil Engineers,” said Lt. Col. Michael D. Askegren, 633rd CES commander. “Truth #6 is ‘Installations are built by, maintained by, and recovered by Airmen Engineers’ and in many ways, this truth is the foundation of the 633 CES. Today, the mission of our unit is to build, maintain, and recover JBLE, as well as to provide Airmen Engineers worldwide to build, maintain and recover our deployed locations. It’s the same mission our squadron had 54 years ago when it was activated at Pleiku. The construction methods, tools, vehicles, and techniques have all changed over time, however our core mission has remained the same.”



    Date Taken: 03.31.2021
    Date Posted: 03.31.2021 10:38
    Story ID: 392702

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