Happy Hooligans utilize RADR system, a first at ND ANG training site
By Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing
/ Published October 06, 2021
FARGO, North Dakota -- The Happy Hooligans began using the new Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery (RADR) training system for the first time at the North Dakota Air National Guard (NDANG) Regional Training Site (RTS), in this case for the visiting U.S. Air Force active duty 90th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, the week of Sept. 26 through Oct. 2.
The RTS in Fargo is one of four Air National Guard (ANG) civil engineer career field training sites implementing the capability of providing the Rapid Damage Repair (RDR) portion of the RADR training, but it is now the first ANG training site to fully utilize it for training.
Discussions about RADR training at the ANG training sites began in about 2016, and it has been about a year-long process to fully install the system and acquire the equipment necessary to fully utilize it for training at the NDANG.
“For the past three to four years, the training has only been available at one of the Silver Flag U.S. Air Force civil engineer training sites at Tyndall AFB, Florida, Anderson AFB, Guam, or Ramstein AFB, Germany,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dan Anderson, an NDANG trainer at the RTS.
The NDANG training site is still waiting for a few small pieces, like a special concrete saw that gets mounted on fork-lifts, but it is making due with standalone concrete saws in the meantime.
“We spent the first few days with the visiting personnel getting some stick-time with the equipment to get used to it before we begin the RDR training on the simulated concrete runway,” said Anderson.
The RADR system features a 150 feet by 750 feet concrete simulated runway, sectioned off in 20 foot by 20 foot squares for training craters. It is specially designed for making holes in the concrete squares that simulate bomb impact craters that can be repaired with fill and capping material.
“The idea is if we are at a deployed location and our runway gets hit, we have to be able to go out and repair it in a quick timeline so we can take the fight to the enemy,” said Capt. Casey Parks-Garcia, of the 90th CES.
Debris is cleared from the simulated bomb blasts and the craters in the concrete are cut to make ready for the fill and patching.
The patching is done with either asphalt or concrete capping material. The capping material is preferably selected to match the runway, but either asphalt or concrete may be used if one material is more easily accessible at the damage site.
“The RADR training course will be required for all engineers in the near future. Right now we average about 1,000 students per year at our RTS and we will be adding about another 300 per year when this becomes required,” said Anderson.
The 119th CES at the NDANG has received approximately 40 pieces of additional heavy equipment and is expecting about seven more for their new RADR training facility, and it has been up to the RTS trainers to get familiar with all of the equipment prior to providing training for trainees.
In addition to the RDR portion of the RADR system, additional aspects of RADR will eventually be added. They are called the rapid explosive hazard mitigation (REHM) and the rapid airfield damage assessment system (RADAS).
For now, the NDANG RTS is refining use of the training equipment and becoming more efficient in the training process that will be used for 119th CES members and visiting students from other units.
“We don’t have any of this equipment at our base and we don’t have the time set aside to train with this type of equipment, so it has been great to come here and actually do this kind of training here for our war-time mission,” said Parks-Garcia.
“It’s all a learning curve with the brand new equipment," said Staff Sgt. Chris Larson, an RTS instructor. "Getting the settings right with the conveyor speed, the auger speeds needed a little adjustment. Glad we got the chance to work on it with these guys."