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Civil Engineer Squadron finishes construction rotation at Crow Reservation

CROW AGENCY, Mont. --

Thirty-five Airmen with the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron completed their two-week annual training constructing homes for Crow Tribe veterans Aug. 6 in Crow Agency, Montana.

The Peoria-based squadron provided services including drywall, windows, doors, siding, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and HVAC to four partially completed homes, two new homes and 10 remodels.

“All the homes we’re building right now are all for veterans, so they’ve all served in one of the military services here for us,” said Master Sgt. Ben Reed, the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron’s project operation superintendent. “So, this is just a way for us to give back to the community and take care of our veterans in a new spot, in a new location throughout the country.”

The squadron was one of several units that participated in the Crow Reservation project made possible by the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program, a civil-military relations cooperative.

According to irt.defense.gov, the training initiative supports military readiness while also providing quality services to U.S. communities.

“It involves taking a unit and providing a training program to go out to local communities to provide a service to the local community and also quality training to our guys,” said Reed.

The program not only serves as a way to give back to the community, but as a unique training environment.

“This trip is a huge benefit in terms of [Air Force Specialty Code] training. It’s really difficult to get this level of training on station on a weekend basis,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gunther, the squadron’s chief enlisted manager. “But what really motivates these guys and what really makes them happy is to actually do their job, and this is where they get to do it.”

The assignment, what Gunther said he considers a humanitarian operation, paralleled the Air National Guard’s mission to be the first choice in homeland operations.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to provide housing for some of the local citizens of the reservation. Hopefully, it’s going to provide housing for six families, and they’re going to be able to enjoy the new homes for them and their families,” he said.

The 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron served on the second-to-last rotation. The IRT’s “Montana Crow Tribe Housing 2017” assignment began in May and is scheduled to finish in August.

For more information on the Innovative Readiness Training program, please visit http://irt.defense.gov.