151 CES train for deployment in Australia
By CMSgt Mark Savage, 151 CES
/ Published December 11, 2013
Exmouth, Australia -- The 151st Civil Engineer Squadron spent two weeks on a volunteered Deployment for Training (DFT) in Exmouth, Western Australia, Nov. 1-17.
"We volunteered to participate in a Deployment for Training to allow our personnel the time to train before participating in their Air Expeditionary Forces (AEF) deployments," said Maj. Chris Buckner, 151st CES commander. "It is imperative that we deploy a trained force ready to accomplish the mission at hand, and this training helps our members to gain valuable real-world knowledge using their specific skill sets."
The DFT program was created to provide realistic and flexible training to help produce a highly skilled and motivated force capable of carrying out all tasks and functions to accomplish their Air Force mission. The program complements localized training programs and also enhances the unit's capabilities in the delivery of such training. Air National Guard units from around the country train their personnel through the DFT program to help prepare their members for real-world deployments. Several projects are chosen annually by National Guard Bureau, and units are scheduled to work on specific portions of a project, using their Annual Training days, as they rotate through the site.
"The hands-on training that our folks can get during these off-site construction projects simply cannot be duplicated at home station," said Maj. Sasha Perronne, 151st CES Deputy Base Civil Engineer said. "Our members are able to build great camaraderie while also working to master their skills on a real-world project."
The 151st CES received the call from the Air National Guard Civil Engineer Readiness Division in June indicating the location, date and time of the DFT. "We had no idea where the DFT would be located or the aggressive timeline that would be needed to complete our portion of this operation, but we were eager to meet the goals set by National Guard Bureau," said Buckner.
In an effort to save money, the Defense Department partnered with the ANG to provide support to renovate a Space Surveillance Network radar site.
The planning began with airlift requests and the compilation of 34 volunteers to deploy. The U.S. Government shutdown had the potential to delay the project as the unit that was supposed to go in before the Utah team was unable to get off the ground, therefore not completing their portion. The shutdown also threatened the Utah team's involvement. Three weeks before the scheduled departure the team received the word to go, but the airlift type had changed, as had the scope of work.
The 191st Air Refueling Squadron of the Utah Air Guard picked up the airlift, and the Utah team was on its way Down Under.
The 34-engineer team joined ten other individuals and immediately got to work to complete the project as planned. "We arrived as scheduled and identified all of the objectives that were not able to be completed by the team that was not able to deploy prior to us," said Maj. Paul Waite, deployed DFT commander. "Our guys accomplished about four weeks-worth of work in the two-week time frame."
Over the fortnight, the team had many objectives to complete, including the building of a 22-foot Nuform polymer wall, filling it with concrete, then creating a concrete roof to cover the area. The use of Nuform at that height was a first-time occurrence for the ANG, according to Lt. Col. Craig Bradford, DFT project manager.
"I feel that our team exceeded all expectations," said Waite. "We took several drill-status Guardmembers, who didn't know a lot about one another, and created a cohesive team that not only met our objectives, but also the objectives for the unit not able deploy before us. Overall, it was a great deployment for us."