Last month, Airmen from the 944th Fighter Wing, temporarily said goodbye to the desert sun of Arizona and aloha to the tropical weather and beautiful scenery of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
During a two week annual tour, the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron was asked to participate in an Innovative Readiness Training project at Bellows Air Force Station (Bellows Field) Waimanalo by the Air Force Reserve Command.
The IRT project is designed to utilize and advance the skill sets of reservists by having them complete projects for the U.S. Air Force and civilian agencies. This is especially beneficial for communities that have suffered natural disasters. In this case, the 944th CES was tasked to team up with a small civil engineer flight with the 18th Force Support Squadron Det. 2, stationed in Hawaii that has an abundance of work to be done.
Thirty-two 944th CES, Logistics Readiness Squadron and wing staff members participated in the mission. Their objectives were to build a 1,288 square feet hazardous material storage facility from the ground up, provide traffic control, paint striping for the streets and parking lots, and help cut down an infestation of Ironwood trees which was causing a safety concern.
The team was able to complete the construction projects and cut down 150 Ironwood trees. “Right to the last day of work, we were able to use every bit of material available to us, we knocked it out of the park,” said Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Harback, 944th CES operations superintendent. “We want to do a good job, make sure the customer is satisfied and get invited back. That’s exactly what happened.”
“Team projects away from home station exercise the 944th CES’s ability to plan, organize, and deploy expeditionary engineer teams,” said Lt. Col. Jason Birch, 944th CES commander. “Airmen get to practice a variety of construction techniques they usually don’t have the opportunity to do at Luke Air Force Base. This makes these projects some of the highest value training we do.”
Bellows AFS is a U.S. military reservation. Once an important air field during World War II, the reservation now serves as a military training area and recreation area for active-duty and retired military, and Defense Department employees. It is operated by Det. 2, 18th FSS of the 18th Mission Support Group based at Kadena Air Base, Japan.