103rd Airlift Wing Puts Shovels in the Ground

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jefferson S. Heiland
  • 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
The Construction Acquisition Team of the 103rd Civil Engineering Squadron hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking at the east end of the ramp at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Nov. 7, 2009.
     The ceremony symbolized the first step in preparation for the base to get started with the unit's new Airlift mission with the C-27J Spartan aircraft. A large group of Guardsmen attended the ceremony and cheered loudly as the earth was overturned and thrown from the specially gold-painted shovels.
     "This is the start of a long series of construction projects and a lot of money and a lot of work that's going to be poured into Bradley. And what it means is longevity, it means mission, it means that this place and what we care about is going to be here for a good, long time," said Col. Frank Detorie, commander, 103rd Airlift Wing.
     "This is just the first domino. This is the first tangible evidence of what we've been talking about, what we've been hearing about in terms of CIRF's, AOG's and the JCA going forward. We can all talk about it and look at the pictures but, starting today, we get to look at shovels in the ground and buildings going up," Detorie said.
According to Capt. Patrick Altsman, deputy base civil engineer, 103rd Civil Engineering Squadron, the sound suppressor that will be installed on the site is currently at the Maine Air National Guard Base in Bangor and will be transported here in the spring of 2010.
     "The addition of this second sound suppressor on base is to support the BRAC initiatives of 2005 and the increased workload that the Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility now has with their expanded mission, repairing and distributing the T-34 engine," Altsman said. "This ties in to other follow-on projects, as well, over the next several months which is to renovate our current engine rebuilding site."
     After the first round of ceremonial digging, Col. Detorie invited other members to take a shovel and participate in the historic event.
     "It's a very, very important first step and I don't think anyone can overstate how big a step what we are doing here today is for the long term future of [the Bradley Air Guard]," Detorie said.
     The significance of the groundbreaking related directly to another important announcement that Col. Detorie made on Dec. 5 relative to the future of the 103rd.
     "Last week, I attended the National Guard Joint Senior Leader Conference in Washington, D.C., along with several other members of Connecticut's leadership team. During the conference and in front of Guard leaders from all 54 states and territories, the Director of the Air National Guard took the opportunity to formally announce Connecticut as one of six initial C-27J states. While this is certainly the future mission we have planned on for some time, this formal announcement is key because it gives the NGB directorates the authority and the mandate to begin supporting our transition to the C-27J," Detorie said.