CAMDEN, S.C --
More than 50 Armen from the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Civil Engineer Squadron executed a restoration project at the Wateree Recreation Area in Camden, South Carolina, during their extended drill weekend March 2-5, 2023.
The SCANG Airmen teamed up with the 20th Force Support Squadron from neighboring Shaw Air Force Base which owns the Wateree Recreation Area. Shaw provided the funding and the SCANG provided skilled labor for this Total Force partnership.
The Wateree Recreation Area serves to offer a place for leisure and morale-boosting activities for military members, their families, retirees and all other authorized Department of Defense members.
The upkeep and maintenance mission performed by the SCANG engineers achieved several objectives including team-building, cross occupational specialty training and equipment familiarization.
“It’s important because we get off base and actually get to go out into our community and work for our community partners. And we gain valuable experience,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Jones, a heavy equipment operator.
The project took two months of careful planning and required skill sets from multiple career fields.
“We’re doing six different jobs involving drainage, cutting trees, some plumbing work, demo, interior electric work and some roofing,” Jones explained.
The four-day assignment to Wateree also provided the Airmen with valuable training that isn’t possible at their home station at McEntire Joint National Guard Base.
“What I like most is it’s allowing me to train my Airmen and get them off base and get them in equipment they’ve never been able to experience,” said Jones. “We have rental equipment out here, so it allows them that experience.”
A large-scale project like this allows Airmen to learn and work within other civil engineer career fields.
“I’m normally a structures troop. So, I don’t necessarily get to work with electrical or HVAC all the time,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jaxon Huettmann, a structural journeyman.
Huettman said he appreciated building bonds and friendships as part of the experience and the opportunity to lead.