March’s S-Team leads regional, Pacific and joint engineer success

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U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Jason Saberin

March Air Reserve Base’s 922nd Civil Engineer Staff Augmentation Team (S-Team) wrapped up another successful year completing innovative training while supporting regional and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) missions. The team of engineers assigned to the 922nd had a busy second half of 2015 highlighted by Korean temporary duty assignments, support operations for Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, joint engineer training at Naval Base Ventura County, California, and construction management support for two regional Defense Department Innovative Readiness Training (DOD IRT) projects.

With a current ramp-up of U.S. presence in the Pacific theater, the 922nd finds itself with many opportunities to apply the diverse skillset that resides within the unit and is ready to support engineering operations when requested across the Pacific Area of Responsibility. 

A team of five engineers, led by Lt. Col. Brady Johnson, developed engineering planning documents for bedding down thousands of Airmen at a critical, co-located operating base in the Republic of South Korea. Upon arrival in Korea, the team quickly coordinated efforts with its respective counterparts and sister services to develop project planning and design documents for contingency beddown planning.

S-Teams leverage the experience of a large pool of highly trained officers and senior enlisted for just this type of Combatant Command or Numbered Air Force Mission. This level of experience is incumbent of high tenure civil engineer personnel and is an important way in which the 922nd, as one of three Air Force Reserve S-Teams, supports the Air Force mission. Contingency Staff Augmentation is one of the main reasons the Air Force created such S-teams.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to contribute to such a project and help our Korean allies and troops stationed abroad,” said Maj. Jennifer Burghdorf, a 922nd member who participated in the Korean engineering planning mission.

Meanwhile at home, the 922nd led efforts to design an Explosive Ordnance Disposal training facility at Andersen AFB. After completing design concepts, the 922nd coordinated efforts with the 556th RED HORSE Squadron to provide on-site construction management of the new facility in 2016.

Local members of the Moreno Valley, California, community assisted the planning and design by providing a hands-on overview of in-progress, concrete, tilt-up panel construction, which is the method of choice in Guam to ensure buildings survive seasonal storms. The 922nd completed architectural, plumbing, ventilating/air conditioning, electrical and civil design.

S-Team inputs have been essential for the successful planning and execution of this project. The team ensured construction drawings were ready to go and developed documentation to assist in quality control, schedule and resource tracking efforts. Their contribution avoided project schedule delays and cost overruns.

In November 2015, the S-Team engaged in a day-long, joint engineer outreach with the Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer School (CECOS) at Port Hueneme, California. This engineering outreach shared knowledge and exchanged ideas on what each service can do to improve facility engineering capabilities. The S-Team learned how Navy Civil Engineers execute facets of facilities planning, acquisition, public works, Seabee readiness and environmental management.

This was followed by on-site orientations to deep water sea lift port operations which included rail, wharf and ship stages as well as viewing the extensive mobilization space and war ready Seabee equipment packages. This kind of outreach and training provided the S-team with excellent exposure to primary logistics and engineering missions associated with the Pacific Theater of Operations. The exchange also improved Navy understanding of Air Force engineer organization, capabilities and facility engineering programs.

“It was truly a unique opportunity to be able to see how our fellow Navy CE professionals are trained and execute port operations. The Navy has a proud heritage as Seabees, and to see their large museum at Port Hueneme was a testament to their long history helping the United States win wars abroad while keeping their military capabilities ready at home,” said Capt. Diego Noboa, a 922nd member who participated in the joint training. 

Throughout the spring and summer of 2015, 922nd members spent their annual tours supporting construction management of two regional DOD IRT projects. The first, which was completed several weeks ahead of schedule, cleared decades of silt and debris from behind a flood control dam located on a Native American reservation about 60 miles from March Field.

A key 922nd contribution included development of soil stabilization requirements which the tribe used to obtain grants for erosion control, thereby protecting the work completed by more than 100 Air Force reservists to restore the reservoir.

The 922nd also provided technical support and site observation for Air Force reservists who cleared land and built a significant perimeter wall for the TERI Campus of Life in Oceanside, California. The first facility of its kind, the Campus of Life will be a true center of excellence in the education and empowerment of individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities. This completed the first training cycle of what would require several years’ worth of work by joint engineers for campus development. 

As the 922nd concluded 2015 supporting missions across the region and Pacific theater, its members look forward to 2016, beginning with six of them participating in a PACAF exercise at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, continuing support for Andersen AFB, Korean assets, and a multitude of additional projects across the country. The 922nd Civil Engineer Flight – making it happen to support the warfighter anytime, anywhere.