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Structurally fit to fight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ashleigh S. Pavelek
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs

Orange barrels and construction cones are becoming a common sight around McEntire Joint National Guard Base, and they are not going away anytime soon. 

The good news is that McEntire is upgrading its facilities and expanding the base community.

Select buildings and runway sections are undergoing renovations designed and contracted by the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron. This construction to the installation’s infrastructure will aid training missions of Swamp Fox Airmen. 

It’s important to invest in your infrastructure and facilities,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gareth Fleischer, the base civil engineer. “It’s the backbone of your mission. If you have poor facilities, there’s a good chance your mission is going to suffer in some way.”


The most recent phase of construction on McEntire’s main gate was completed by civilian contractors in early February. The new canopy addition to the structure will provide much needed cover from the elements for 169th Security Forces Squadron personnel.  

McEntire is allotted two anti-terrorism entry control points, said Fleischer. The Morrell Gate is in phase II of design for future construction that will increase security defenses and ease accessibility and traffic for Airmen commuting into the base.

Other current projects include major renovations to Base Operations, Avionics and the Base Canteen buildings. Temporary relocation for multiple units are being made to allow operations to continue while the facilities are being upgraded. Senior Master Sgt. Steve Rector, the facility manager assigned to the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, is arranging accommodations in portable trailer units that will be placed around McEntire until projects are completed.

“Maintaining the integrity of the current infrastructure on base allows our Airmen to train for the mission safely and efficiently,” said Rector.

The McEntire Fire Department will be expanding its facility to allow necessary housing of personnel and apparatus bays needed for efficient parking and maintenance of the fire engines. The construction will also allow for an increased capacity to acquire additional fire trucks and equipment as the McEntire community continues to grow.

In addition to all the renovations taking place, there will also be new building construction starting this fall. The current 169th Fighter Wing headquarters building will be demolished to break ground for construction of a modernized facility to house more units of the wing staff functions under one roof.

Plans for the Air Traffic Control Squadron are also slated to begin in late summer, and include Command Post, Emergency Management and Chaplain’s office renovations. This project will prepare the Wing for personnel transitions to accommodate the new headquarters facility.

It’s also about posturing ourselves for the future,” said Fleischer. “It’s like when your commanders tell you to be ready for the next stripe, to do your PME, to do your part. We’re doing our part to update the facilities and infrastructure so when the day comes, we’re ready.