Flying Yankees ready for the storm
By Maj. Bryon M. Turner, 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published February 12, 2014
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- The Airmen of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron are ready to provide storm recovery operations and roadway clearance support should the state request their assistance in the event of a major weather event.
With yet another winter storm headed for the state, the engineer squadron began operational checks on their specialized equipment days before the storm's projected arrival; standard practice just in case their help is needed, said Master Sgt. Kevin Quinn of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron.
"We can field our domestic operations package consisting of two trailers for transport of two skid-steer tractors with various attachments which can be used to remove debris from roadways," Quinn said. "The package also has enough chainsaws and support equipment to sustain a 20-man team in the field for route clearing. We could also add a command and control element if necessary. "
The civil engineers of the Connecticut Air National Guard are no strangers to storm recovery missions, having answered the call to duty in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Winter Storm Alfred in 2011, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Winter Storm Nemo in 2013.
The unit has conducted a wide array of operations including route clearing, search and rescue missions, and emergency power production, flood pumping support to critical utilities' infrastructures, emergency management support and other activities both on base and in the surrounding communities.
Despite their current high state of readiness and their proven track record of storm recovery service to the state and community, the men and women of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron are not resting on their laurels. A three-day training course has been developed and planned for later in the year to train additional volunteers from other units of the Connecticut Air National Guard to increase the available pool of skilled team members for recovery operations in the event of a natural disaster, on or off base.
"The training will reduce the demand on the squadron, which is currently the sole provider of emergency route clearing personnel, while also providing a knowledgeable emergency response force," said Maj. Henry Chmielinski, commander of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron. "It will also provide all attendees with training on the proper maintenance of route clearing equipment to ensure down time is minimized while deployed. All teams will deploy with required equipment, supporting materials and parts to be self-sustaining while in the field."