103rd Civil Engineer Squadron continues its mission of readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jennifer Pierce
  • 103rd Arilift Wing Public Affairs
This past year was full of many changes for the Airmen of the 103rd Airlift Wing. The Flying Yankees said goodbye to the C-21A aircraft and welcomed eight C-130H Hercules aircraft along with its new mission. With this mission came more training, equipment and new policies but the day-to-day operations remained the same for the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron.

"Whatever airframe we have, our mission doesn't change," said Maj. Henry Chmielinski, commander of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron. "Ultimately, we still support the base the same way we would support a mission with an A-10, C-21 or any other aircraft we have here."

What did change for the squadron is the intensity of their operational tempo--a direct result of several multi-million dollar construction and renovation projects.

In the last year, we had approximately $15.5 million worth of construction projects that included renovations to several of the buildings on base and movement of shops, as well as painting a new red line on the new taxi lane. This year, we will begin a $16 million construction project of a new fuel cell corrosion control hangar that will be located on the northeast corner of the apron, said Chmielinski.

Even as you drive by the base, it's hard to miss the facelift the hangar received.

We are also looking at possible funding for an addition to the fire station and the renovation of the current facility, said Chmielinski.

According to Chmielinski, mission as usual for the civil engineers means taking care of training that is associated with the supplying of temperature-controlled air, power, water and sanitation to ensure Airmen are kept safe and clean to operate overseas.

"Our mission is to make sure everyone is trained and readiness available so that when we go overseas we are skilled in everything ranging from any type of plumbing issue to anything to do with fuels, piping or providing the base with fuel. Plumbing means getting available water sources, sewage treatment plants, etcetera. From a bare-base operation, we could set up fuel bladders and find a more sustainable way to provide it depending on how long the trip is. However, our current workload has increased and there have been added inventory and areas of inspection in addition to maintaining customer service," said Master Sgt. Daniel Reilly, water and fuels systems maintenance superintendent.

According to Chmielinski, squadron readiness is paramount in order to maintain a state of readiness both "inside the wire and outside of the wire".

In the last three to four years, our unit has supported several domestic operations as well as those overseas, Chmielinski said. During Hurricane Sandy, our firefighters went house-to-house along the coast line searching for bodies or people stuck in their homes and we also assisted with road clearing. We have to make sure our equipment, our training and our people are up to par so when the Army calls us for a domestic operation, we can deploy and assist with recovery operations for our state, he said.

Despite the overall mission remaining the same, the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron is responding to the increasing demand for their services. For them, this means doing more than before and doing it to perfection--a feeling the Guard knows all too well.