Fort McCoy News May 23, 2014

Airmen lend skills to troop projects

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Air Force civil engineers on temporary duty to Fort McCoy for the Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) completed several troop project construction efforts at the installation.

Photo 1 for troop projects article
Staff Sgt. Adrian Cueller, structures journeyman from the 433rd Civil Engineer Squadron of Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, cuts a piece of plywood to size while working on a permanent shower facility under construction at Forward Operating Base Liberty.

The Airmen were from the Air Force Reserve's 433rd Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and the active-duty unit, 49th Material Maintenance Squadron, (MMS) of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. They included people from Air Force career field specialties such as electrical, power production, structures (building construction) and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

All of the Airmen arrived at Fort McCoy in late April to set up a 550-person Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) package at one of the installation's forward operating bases (FOB) for CSTX. A BEAR package provides a complex of lightweight, air-transportable assets used to erect a mobile air base.

"We arrived here to set up a BEAR package and maintain it during the course of the CSTX operations. We also break down the package when CSTX is completed so it can be flown back to Holloman," said Tech. Sgt. Scott Wingo, 49th MMS structures craftsman.

Also while at Fort McCoy, Wingo said they made time available to support any installation troop projects that could be completed.
As for troop projects, the Airmen completed an upgrade to a wall and reset a doorway at the Pine View Campground office.

They also finished truss and roof work on a permanent shower facility at FOB Liberty and helped accomplish erosion-prevention work at the post rock crushing site, said Troop Projects Coordinator Larry Morrow from the Directorate of Public Works.

Photo 2 for troop projects article
A view of a permanent shower facility under construction at Forward Operating Base Liberty that was started by Army engineer battalions. Air Force civil engineer Airmen participating in the 2014 Combat Support Training Exercise have also worked on the facility.

"They've also done work to replace electrical lines on the bunny slope at Whitetail Ridge Ski Area," Morrow said. "Their work will improve operations at the ski area."

Morrow said the help of the civil engineering Airmen was an unexpected surprise, as they weren't part of the original plan for completing projects earlier in the year.

All work being completed will have lasting effects. The FOB Liberty shower facility, for example, will be usable year-round to help support training at the complex, Morrow said.

For the Airmen, the troop projects work is a welcome training opportunity — especially for the Air Force Reserve Airmen from the 433rd CES.

"It gets us out and allows us to practice our skills," said Master Sgt. Michael Shedrock, structures craftsman from the 433rd CES. "With all the different civil engineering career fields we have available at Fort McCoy for CSTX, the training is especially beneficial.

Plus, in the process, we are able to help get some work done for the facilities at Fort McCoy."

Staff Sgt. Sheri Mason, also a structures journeyman from the 433rd CES, agreed.

"As Reservists, we often do not get the same amount of time as we've had here (at Fort McCoy) to practice our civil engineering skills, so this has been great," Mason said.

"It also feels good to know the work we're doing will make a difference for the future, and for the post community."

Besides the work done by Airmen, Morrow said Army engineer Soldiers accomplished work earlier this year during the Warrior Exercise in March, and will do more troop projects in June during the Essayons exercise.

For more information about troop project construction, call the troop project coordinator's office at 608-388-3551.