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131st CES starts M1 Abrams storage facility construction

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Phoenix Lietch
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

HELENA, MT -- Members with the 131st Civil Engineer Squadron began working hand-in-hand with the 219th Red Horse Squadron to build a storage facility for M1 Abrams tanks at Fort William Henry Harrison, Montana.

The project consists of six, two-week rotations with different squadrons every rotation. The 131st CES took over from the previous unit and will add doors and electrical facilities to the building. The construction will focus on improving technical proficiency through engineering design, planning, estimating, construction execution, and project closeout.

“This training mission is designed to incorporate as many Air Force specialty codes as we can into a construction project,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Drew Gallucci, 131st CES commander “As a Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force, we are expected to go anywhere in the world and support the construction, maintenance and repair of an airfield. This type of building is something that we may find out on an airfield, so that gives our Airmen the opportunity to practice it here and on their skills so they’re prepared down range to employ their skills.”

The tanks were previously stored in an open, outdoor environment leaving the tank exposed to the elements, which results in higher maintenance requirements. The new storage facility will significantly save taxpayer dollars in reduced maintenance needs and time.

“The Montana National Guard has told us that these tanks have a deficiency when it comes to storage,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Dylan Bender, 219th REDHORSE Squadron project engineer “This [project] will help lower maintenance cost by providing the M1 Abrams shelter during the Montana winters, therefore reducing the cost in repairs and maintenance.”

The 131st CES contribution to the project is scheduled to be completed August 5, 2023.