Fort McCoy News June 12, 2015

Air Force civil engineers prepare site for CSTX

Public Affairs Staff

Nearly 20 Air Force civil-engineering Airmen prepared a Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) tent city site and completed the first of several troop projects.

The tent city site is at Young Air Assault Strip (YAAS) on the installation's South Post. Master Sgt. Chad Wagner, command civil-engineering equipment program manager at Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., coordinated the troop project. He said the Airmen prepared the area for high-voltage generator use.

Air Force civil-engineering Airmen use heavy equipment to take down a berm June 2 as part of a troop project near the Young Air Assault Strip at Fort McCoy. Nearly 20 Airmen arrived at Fort McCoy in late May as part of an advance team to prepare the site for the 2015 Combat Support Training Exercise and to complete the troop project.

"Our (troop) project requires us to take high-voltage lines and bury them 3 feet in the ground so they are safe to walk across," Wagner said. "This system and project were coordinated through Range Control and Troop Projects Coordinator Larry Morrow. It will be usable for all future exercises in this location for anyone who may want to bring in high-voltage generators."

As the work was completed, Wagner said schematics and plans were provided to the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security for documentation. "We also used GPS to plot and show where all the underground lines are buried," he said.

After completing the wiring project, the Airmen organized the site for the tent city. Senior Airman Jordan Miller, engineering assistant from Headquarters AFRC, said the planning and preparation for the site organization took several months.

"I was last out here last November to do a site visit to help learn the lay of the land, determine how many personnel we were looking to sustain, and to see how we could best fit everything in here while maintaining safety with respect to fire lanes and related considerations," Miller said. "The biggest thing is we have to make sure we have everything in line so we are able to support all the people who will be using this site."

Maj. Kimberly Hubbard, operations flight commander for the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., was part of the 14-member JBLM advance team that prepared the site. The site will be built with an Air Force Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) package. A BEAR package enables beddown of personnel and aircraft at austere locations with no infrastructure.

"A BEAR package offers your basic living requirements to include shelter and related amenities," Hubbard said. "Having assets (like a BEAR package) is very important to get set up so the airfield can open and personnel can do the mission."

The tent city at YAAS included tents for sleeping and working as well as showering facilities. "We also brought in a field kitchen to feed the troops," Hubbard said.

Even though the Airmen's main mission has been assisting with the CSTX build-up, they've also gained some valuable training.

"This is an absolutely great hands-on experience," Miller said. "This is the first time I have ever laid out a tent facility (plan) of this size. Normally, back at home station, we are fighting to find training somewhere, but this is a great opportunity for us to put the skills that we have learned into use."
Airman 1st Class Joseph Kamanyu, heavy-equipment operator with the 446th CES, said he is grateful for the experience.

"It's a really good opportunity for me (for training) since I just recently finished technical school as well," Kamanyu said. "Here I can get more training on the equipment and some hands-on experience, and the time is good for me to see and learn from others. At the end, I know I will go home with knowledge and experience I may not have received otherwise."

Morrow said he appreciates the completion of another troop project that improves Fort McCoy's capabilities for the future.

"The infrastructure will always be there for whoever has the equipment available to use there," Morrow said. "This is definitely a great improvement."

CSTX continues at Fort McCoy through June 28 and also includes the Global Medic exercise.

For more information about troop projects at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-3551.