Mapping toward success

325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Story by Senior Airman Cody Miller

Date: 11.28.2018
Posted: 11.28.2018 16:40
News ID: 301516
Mapping toward success

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Transferring rough ideas and sketches onto a working map can be a difficult task, a task made even harder by the destructive after effects of Hurricane Michael.

Airmen who specialize in planning and managing construction projects have come to Tyndall Air Force Base to assist in planning the rebuild effort. These engineering technicians from multiple bases have the responsibility of ensuring that every base has the facilities and structures they need to keep operating successfully. With tasks that include surveying, computer-aided drafting and soil testing.

They are highly-trained experts who make sure that every project operates smoothly and without any unforeseen problems.

Many of the Airmen are junior enlisted who have never encountered a problem or challenge like the one brought on by Hurricane Michael.

“When we first got here tent city wasn’t even put up yet,” said Airman 1st Class Breland Hoye, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron engineering technician at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. “That’s was one of the first things we did was help plan how we were going to set up the tents for all the Airmen to stay in. It was really catastrophic, I don’t know if anyone could prepare for a hurricane like that.”

Many of the living arrangements that have been made in the weeks since the hurricane initially hit are set up because of the planning of engineering Airmen.

“As engineering technicians, we’re responsible for the spacing and layout of the tents and temporary buildings themselves,” said Hoye. “We basically advise leadership on where the best and most effective spots are to put infrastructure.”

Early arrivals to Tyndall faced many hardships, such as unclean water and non-working showers.

“One of the first sets of building to go up were shower-shave stations,” said Airman 1st Class Phillip Pham, 23rd CES engineering technician. “Before that, your shower most likely consisted of wet wipes if you were lucky.”

After the initial build-up, much of the work is now determining which building will stay and which ones need to be demolished. A civil engineering team from bases across the Air Force was put together at Tyndall. This Task Force Phoenix will be conducting damage assessments to ensure the future safety of all Tyndall personnel.

It’s the job of engineering technicians to update and catalogue all the working maps of Tyndall to reflect these assessments. So far since the engineering team has been at Tyndall, over 300 maps have been produced or updated consistently for the betterment of Tyndall Airmen.

Hoye said that though this area may be in disrepair, it hasn’t been a challenge at all working with the engineering team because of their positive leadership and skill.

“I look at our team here as like the all-stars from different bases,” said Hoye. “Everyone here knows their job and our leadership here has guided us in the right direction. Our biggest challenge has been obtaining the right equipment for surveying. Most of Tyndall’s equipment was destroyed so we had to either use the tools we brought with us or find creative solutions.”

Both Hoye and Pham said they were glad they were selected to be part of the repair team.

“I’m glad I’m here,” said Hoye. “All these Airmen are our brothers and sisters, so helping them out is a great thing like helping family.”