Selfridge CE Airmen Add Training B-Hut
By Master Sgt. Daniel Heaton, 127th Wing
/ Published June 09, 2021
Selfridge Air National Guard Base, MI -- Thanks to the vision of one local Airman, Selfridge Air National Guard Base is now home to one of the strangest B-Huts in the U.S. military.
The B-Hut, slang for a Barracks Hut, is a small building commonly seen on U.S. military installations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The one at Selfridge is smaller than most and is made up of a variety of building materials and methods. It is being used as a training center for the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron's building trades personnel.
"It has been a vision of mine for several years," said Master Sgt. Dereck Leppek, a structures craftsman with the 127th CES. "We built this use wooden and metal studs, prefabbed materials and rafters made from lumber - the idea was to incorporate different building methods so our Airmen would get exposed to multiple scenarios."
The building, a temporary structure outside of the CE facility at Selfridge, features vinyl siding and wooden exterior, a metal roof and shingles, wood panel and dry wall and a wide variety of electrical and plumbing fixtures. It also include windows and doors of several shapes and sizes. That's a lot to squeeze in to a 20x20-foot structure.
"Master Sgt. Leppek took this vision to our engineering assistants and they drew up the plans, the structures team built the frame and each of our different groups have had the chance to get training," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Talaga, superintendent of 127th CES. "One of the benefits of this is we have no deadline to finish the building, so whenever we need to, we can slow down and walk our junior Airmen through each step."
Leppek said once all aspects of the building are complete, the CE troops can work on demolition or remodeling various aspects, to accommodate specific training.
The B-Hut project began before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but the timing of the project worked out well. The pandemic cancelled a scheduled training deployment for the CE Airmen, but instead they were able to work on the B-Hut.
At the unit's June 2021 training weekend, for example, several electricians were adding light fixtures and running commercial-grade wiring in the building. At the next training weekend, the plumbers will be adding a shower.
"Nothing beats hands-on training and this gives us a great way to get that done, right here on home station," Leppek said.