Civil Engineers Head Out
By MSgt. Burke Baker, 151 ARW/PA
/ Published May 01, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Approximately 26 Airmen from the 151st Civil Engineering Squadron headed downrange May 3 as part of their Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) rotation. The unit will be deployed as part of the 9th Air Expeditionary Group in Kuwait.
"Our wartime tasking is everything from beddown to generating electricity, to maintaining fuel farms for generating aircraft, usually with contingency-type equipment," stated Lt. Col. Doug Lindner, 151st CES Commander. "We like getting out and actually doing our jobs, and this is the actual equipment, not training. They're excited. This is what we train for and why we are here. I'm very proud of [the Airmen], they do a great job."
Staff Sgt. Simeon Sharp, a structural journeyman, is deploying to the region for his second time in three years.
"I'm really excited," he said. "I have a lot of mixed feelings though. I'm just trying to go over the checklists and get ready, but I think it will really hit when we are actually getting on the plane."
The Airmen, based at the Salt Lake International Airport as part of the 151st Air Refueling Wing, Utah Air National Guard, are expected to be gone for more than 160 days. The deploying Airmen represent almost every specialty in the squadron including firefighters, engineers, heavy equipment operators, carpenters, heating/ventilation and air conditioning technicians and power production specialists. Their main responsibility will be to perform the upkeep and maintenance and make any improvements to the deployed installation.
"This is not the first time we have deployed on an AEF," said Colonel Lindner. "I would say on average we send 10 Airmen out per year. A lot of these guys have been deployed before, so they are certainly veterans. Most of them just love getting out and doing their jobs."
"You really feel like you are making a difference when you are over there," echoed Sharp.
The squadron has also been busy holding family support meetings in preparation for the lengthy deployment, something Colonel Lindner stresses.
"One of the reasons why we like to have these meetings is to get the word out about who you would contact to get something taken care of if (the families) needed some help. They have emergencies at home, and we want them to know that they can call us and we will come and take care of it."
This may be the last time the 151st CES members will deploy for less than six months.
"I'm not sure it's official yet, but serving on longer deployments is the direction it seems to be heading," said Colonel Lindner. "We will do everything we can to adapt and work out any hardships that may come up."