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Moving tents eases with ingenuity

by Staff Sgt. William Farrow
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

5/2/2005 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN)  -- Airmen with the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron used their ingenuity when they were asked to move a neighborhood of tents more than a mile.

“We did a similar job when we got here in January, and we got the job done, but it wasn’t very efficient,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kerry Roberts, 386th ECES structures superintendent.

The Airmen needed to move 17 tents from the ghost town that was formerly a bed-down location for Soldiers awaiting transportation.

In January, they moved tents to the same location and it took 20 people hundreds of man hours and thousands of dollars to get the tents moved.

“We tried several ways to relocate the floors, but each method was unsuccessful,” Sergeant Roberts said. “We had to abandon the floors altogether and move only the tents by flatbed trailer to the new location,” he said.

But the job got several of the structures specialists thinking, said Tech. Sgt. Raymond Saunders who invented a “jig” that could be bolted to the top of the floor. After he came up with the design, structures troops Senior Airman Josh Gulick and Airman 1st Class David Krause welded and bolted the jig together.

Made from steel, the jig is screwed to the wooden floor joists. By securing the jig to the floor, they move the floor and the tents. With the bolts evenly distributed among the joists, the forklift simply picks up the jig by its “handle” and the whole tent moves in one piece.

“We lay it on the flatbed and transfer it to its new location,” Sergeant Saunders said. “It takes four people about 45 minutes to move a tent, floor and all,” he said.

The new process also saves thousands of dollars in lumber. If they had to build new floors, as they did during the first tent moves, it would cost more than $25,000.

Compared with the old way of doing business, the jig takes a fraction of manpower, time and zero money, officials said.

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