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Iowa Airmen build huge fabric structure in preparation for DOD Readiness Training project

  • Published
  • By Senior Maser Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

In just a few weeks’ time, Iowa National Guard Airmen recently stood up a giant Tension Fabric Structure that is a precursor to an Innovative Readiness Training mission taking place at the Woodbine, Iowa High School in the coming months.

The fabric structure will initially house teams of U.S. military members traveling to the area to help construct a new IGNITE Pathways building already under construction in Woodbine.

VIDEO | 05:10 | Iowa Airmen build huge fabric structure in preparation for Readiness Training project

Woodbine School Superintendent Justin Wagner requested the support of the Department of Defense IRT program to help construct the new IGNITE building as well as the accompanying TFS structure.

“We are so pleased and blessed that we were awarded this, and that we will have DOD members here to help us build this thing out,” Wagner said.

Wagner said he became aware of the IRT program because of his long-time affiliation with the Air National Guard. Colonel Wagner also serves as the Vice Wing Commander with the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City as a traditional guard member.

According to Wagner this is the first ever IRT project taking place in Iowa. The federally funded IRT program was created in the 1990s with the goal of combining military training with civic involvement.
The program allows U.S. military members to hone job related skills in a domestic setting, while at the same time providing key services to American communities.

Wagner said the process of requesting IRT support was nearly two years in the making. He said the request process drills down into project specifics like requesting HVAC, electrical, plumbing, concrete work and so on.

“Folks from the DOD that have specific expertise and want that training can come out and do that kind of work on an IRT project,” Wagner explained.

As part of their annual training, Iowa Guard members from the 185th ARW set up the privately donated 30,000 square foot TFS structure in Woodbine this fall. The building project is familiar to the Civil Engineers because it is the same type of building that is used widely by the U.S. military around the world.

Because TFS buildings are prefabricated the buildings can be set up relatively quickly. In military applications the design also allows the structure to be disassembled and moved if necessary.

Secluded in the Iowa’s Luss hills about 30 miles north of Omaha, Neb., IRT teams arriving in the western Iowa hamlet should have plenty of elbow room during their stay in the huge fabric building.

Wagner said that when construction on the adjacent IGNITE building is complete, the school plans to use the TFS building as in indoor athletic facility.

Woodbine Community School district plans to begin hosting IRT members soon, with the IGNITE building project scheduled to be complete at the beginning of the 2023 school year.