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Civil engineers improving Uzbek base

by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
416th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

4/6/2005 - KARSHI-KHANABAD AIR BASE, Uzbekistan (AFPN) -- From digging to designing, Airmen with the 416th Expeditionary Mission Support Squadron's civil engineer flight have been busy making improvements here.

CE Airmen here are involved in a majority of the construction projects that support the Air Force mission, said Maj. Frederick Cade, the flight's commander deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

"Most of our projects involve the airfield and pavements; however, we do handle many of the facility projects for the Air Force," Major Cade said. "Some of our more recent projects have been the expansion of (a) ramp on the airfield, a project that has added more parking for C-130 (Hercules) aircraft."

Airmen have also been involved in designing the parking plan and coordinating with base contractors to repaint the aircraft parking spots and taxiway lines, allowing aircraft here to use the newly added ramp space more efficiently, Major Cade said.

"We're also working with security forces to plan and place concrete barriers around our air terminal operations center yard to secure and protect vital supplies for our mission here," he said.

Some other current and ongoing projects are installing security fencing, working with Air Force contractors installing airfield and runway lighting and contracting the maintenance of the runway, said Capt. Daniel Craig, a project engineer also from Nellis.

"For future improvements, we are currently developing contracts to install static ground points on the ramp for aircraft refueling operations and a project to expand and renovate the passenger terminal building," he said.

It has taken a team effort for all of the ongoing projects, Major Cade said.

"The jobs we do here are usually jobs too big for any one of us to accomplish by ourselves, so we must work as a team to get the job done right," he said.

The flight's Airmen have worked with CE Soldiers and contractors to get equipment and materials needed to complete their projects.

"When CE people are deployed, we pull together more," said Tech. Sgt. Rita Connett, a civil engineer craftsman deployed from McChord AFB, Wash. "We perform a lot of multiskill jobs, and through that we get to learn something about everyone's strengths in getting the CE mission completed."

Every project takes a crew of several people, said Airman 1st Class Carlos Toro-Cumba, a pavement maintenance and construction equipment journeyman deployed from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

"Each person on the crew has different responsibilities," he said. "We have to have effective use of communication, and everyone has to come together to complete a job no matter how simple or complicated."

Through all the projects, the CE team has also given Airmen a chance to improve their skills.

"There (are) too many tools to list that a CE person uses out in the field and so much we have to know and learn," said Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Watts, a pavement maintenance and construction equipment apprentice deployed from Vandenberg.

Whether it is using basic tools like "rakes and shovels," heavy equipment, or the latest software in computer-aided drafting, the Airmen it happen, Major Cade said.

"(Our work) does not really compare to the Soldiers on the frontlines, but I am here doing what my commander-in-chief said needs to be done to support those guys out there," said Staff Sgt. Larry Eubank, a pavement maintenance and construction equipment craftsman deployed from Vandenberg. "So we all do the best we can, whether it's designing, digging and making things better."

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