Airmen from seven bases across the country partnered with Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., civil engineers to accomplish the annual Bird/Wildlife Air Strike Hazard mission, which began in March and is expected to be completed in June.
Known as BASH, the program exists to deter wildlife from nesting in areas where they can pose a threat to the flying mission. This year’s project focused on the removal of mud, water, and vegetative growth around the perimeter of the base.
“Due to the large scale of the project, we came here to support the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron,” said SSgt Darrell Osborne, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron construction and pavement journeyman. “Working as one team, we get the opportunity to train and work together with Luke on this project to make the airfields safe.”
Airmen from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., Fairchild AFB, Wash., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., Travis AFB, Calif., Schriever AFB, Colo., Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Grand Forks AFB, N.D., traveled to Luke to assist the 56th CES with the project.
“This is a great opportunity for Airmen from civil engineer squadrons across the country to come and diversify their knowledge,” said Master Sgt. Michael McMurray, 341th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy repair superintendent. “They are involved in a project that provides them training on things they will not get to experience at their bases.”
The project began with placing bird netting to prevent nesting. The next step was to spray and remove the vegetation in the culverts to deter wildlife thus preventing birds from hunting or trying to nest.
“We are eliminating the habitats for all of the birds surrounding the airfield.” McMurray said. “It’s a big safety concern and we want to protect our fighters as well as the wildlife.”
More than 1000 tons of vegetation and debris has been removed during the project with a long term effort underway to complete an underground system to convey irrigation.
“Due to the current manning and increased volume of work requests on base in the pavement and construction equipment shop, we needed help to tackle this high priority job,” said Master Sgt. Junior Bablington, 56th CES superintendent of heavy repair. “These Airmen were able to assist and received an opportunity to train on heavy equipment. Really, when it comes down to it, it is Airmen helping Airmen.”