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  • Kingsley Field Civil Engineers deploy mission-ready Airmen to recapitalize a historic facility for use in the 21st century fight.

Kingsley Field Civil Engineers deploy mission-ready Airmen to recapitalize a historic facility for use in the 21st century fight.

21 Mar 2024 8:57 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

Article courtesy of Joe Young, Secretary of South Central Chapter and 173FW Oregon National Guard

Orginal posted August, 15, 2023

The 173 Civil Engineer Flight mission-ready Airmen executed a unit-led Field Training Exercise to bring a former DOD facility back online for future mission readiness.

Fourteen engineers deployed to a remote tower site constructed and used by the USAF Air Defense Command in the 1950’s. Like many ADC sites across the western US, this one was decommissioned, mothballed, and left for nature to reclaim. This site, in particular, though not actively used by the DOD, remained under the span of control of the USAF and made for an ideal sitting location for proposed future development. Initial site surveys determined that the remaining facility, while in good condition, needed a little elbow grease to cut back on nearly 40 years of overgrown brush and vegetation that swamped the once-booming outpost. The exact location of the site is excluded from this article, however, if you know your Air Force history and how to read a paper map you may be able to get in the neighborhood, as the site is not indicated on any version of Google/Apple Maps.

This FTX aimed to accomplish two objectives for the 173CEF. One, practice real-world examples of Bare-Base Expeditionary contingency skills under an Agile Combat Employment construct not typically afforded at home station. Two, perform real-world maintenance on a historic USAF property that will be used by the 173FW for future mission operations.

While the 173CEF has only 5 AFSCs to pull from, a majority of airmen comprising the Flight were prior-service members and engineering professionals in their community. The final on-site team consisted of over 16 different AFSC skill sets and a plethora of additional civilian career disciplines that formed the epitome of what a Multi-Capable Airman team should look like.

Traveling lean with cross-utilized skill-set teams brings a sharpened edge to Agile Combat Support. The team practiced alternative radio communications and convoy operations of vehicles laden with camping gear, food supplies, and construction equipment necessary for the week-long exercise. Among the skills honed, the Flight used GPS and old-fashioned land navigation techniques to find a remote location not listed in a phonebook or located on any street map.

On-site CEF personnel trained on the operation and safety of various hand tools, such as chainsaws, brush trimmers, machetes, and light-duty construction equipment. By the end of the first 48 Hours, the team had cleared nearly an acre and a half of overgrown brush that presented a fire hazard to the facility. An amazing feat considering 1.5 acres is roughly 65,000 square feet or the size of a college football field goal post to goal post. Indoors, the team removed failing partition walls, repaired exterior doors, and restored electricity to portions of the facility which circuitry dated roughly 1965. In addition to fieldwork, the team was able to document and upload various facility condition reports, inspections, and documents to USAF systems utilizing STARLINK terminal.

Because of the team efforts during the FTX, the aged facility is again ready for operations and can quickly be reconfigured, upgraded, and modernized to meet future mission requirements. Although this was just one small unit performing at one remote location in the Western US, the team demonstrated what the USAF Civil Engineers do for Resilient Forward Basing around the globe every day

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