107th Attack Wing civil engineers are ‘California Dreaming’

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Meade
  • 107th Attack Wing
More than 30 Airmen from the 107th Attack Wing Civil Engineer Squadron got their boots in the sand for a two-week Deployment For Training (DTF) to March Air Reserve Base, California, July 10-24, 2022.

The Airmen set up camp in the sand and the 99 degree heat, alongside members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The joint-training with the RCAF allowed for a unique training experience while assisting March ARB with various building projects.

“The Canadians are a great team to work with,” said Master Sgt. Brett Johnson, the Water Fuels Systems Maintenance Supervisor assigned to the 107th CES. “The knowledge we have been able to share has been great. We’re learning from them, and they’re learning from us.”

Johnson continued to say that it was a privilege to see his Airmen have the opportunity to train on a project like this one.

“We’re involved with the building design and layout for all the utilities going into it.” He said. “We’re starting from the bottom and going up.”

The Airmen who came from the 107th ATKW were tasked with several different building projects during their two week deployment, ranging from building offices equipped with air conditioning and electricity, to starting construction on a whole new building.

Staff Sgt. Jesse Kuwik, a Water Fuels Systems Maintenance Technician assigned to the 107th CES said that it is a challenging job to accomplish in two weeks, but he and his wingmen were up to the challenge.

“We show up and ask what the plan is, and then we get to work,” said Kuwik. “All of these guys are super knowledgable, which makes it easy to come in and get things done.”

Similarly, Senior Airman Nicholas Schuster, a Structural Technician assigned to the 107th CES said, “Our role here is pretty versatile. We’re here to get what needs to be done, done as safe and quick as possible.”

Versatility was important for the Airman who started work on the foundation of a new building. With nothing but an empty plot of land, the Engineer Assistants and Heavy Equipment Operators, or “Dirt Boys” got to work preparing the ground for excavation. Due to the dry geography they were working in, a unique challenge presented itself. The Airmen discovered that they were unable to dig up the ground without producing dust. They halted the process and brought over a water truck and hoses to spray the ground. With the risk of breathing in the dust gone, the Dirt Boys got back to work.

The workload wasn’t the only challenge the CES needed to overcome though.

With the different projects spread across the California base, the Airmen of the 107th had the opportunity, not only to train in skills they typically wouldn’t, but also to work in an environment unlike their hometown of Niagara Falls.

“Environment is a really important factor in these types of trainings.” said Schuster, “Here, we need to be conscious of the heat and keep drinking water!”

From building relationships with international allies, to overcoming challenges, the 107th has a lot to gain from their DTF.

Master Sgt. Bradley Babin, the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning supervisor assigned to the 107th said said that he loves taking his Airmen on a DTF.

“We get experience with a lot of equipment that we’re not familiar with,” Babin said. “Which is good because whenever we deploy operationally, we don’t actually know what we could get into.”

Babin explained that these types of training keep the Airmen of the 107th “prepared for anything.”