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South Carolina Air National Guard civil engineers train in Israel

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson
  • 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
South Carolina Air National Guard civil engineers have poured concrete, sweat, and more than 6,000 hours of hard work into a construction project 6,000 miles away from home. 

Airmen from the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force, completed a 19 day Deployment for Training in Israel. The DFT purpose is to construct four 10,000 square foot multi-purpose buildings over the span of six to eight rotations of civil engineer squadrons. Each group continues the work of the previous to keep momentum and project goals on target.

"This is the largest and most important DFT for Air National Guard civil engineers this year," said Maj. Gareth Fleischer, 169th CES officer in charge.

Deployment for Training missions are an annual requirement for ANG civil engineers. DFTs provide a contingency training environment for SCANG Airmen to build their civil engineering specialties and give them invaluable hands-on training that cannot be matched in a regular Unit Training Assembly weekend at home.

A project of this caliber takes a lot of joint effort to complete. Swamp Fox Prime BEEF engineers are working side-by-side with Airmen from the Ohio Air National Guard's 200th Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers from Mansfield, Ohio and Navy Seabee construction engineers with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 from Gulf Port, Mississippi.

"It's one team, one fight. It's actually been a really good experience working with the Air Force, especially Prime BEEF," said Navy Builder Constructionman 2nd Class Martin Riddle. "This is the biggest job site that any of my guys have ever seen at one time. It's all a learning experience and the joint operation is definitely the best thing."

Prime BEEF, RED HORSE and Seabees worked long days in the heat of Israel to pour 1,200 cubic yards of concrete, place 45 metric tons of rebar, and nearly complete wall installations for two of the four buildings during their two-weeks on this three-million dollar construction project.

"It is key for our guys to understand what other branches of service and RED HORSE bring to the table," said Fleischer.

Working a construction project from the ground up is a mission common to RED HORSE and Seabees, while Prime BEEF typically perform sustainment activities.

Fleischer said this project was a great learning environment for Swamp Fox Prime BEEF to work next to other branches and RED HORSE to learn the skills needed to perform this type of construction.

"I'm gaining experience and helping the Air Force, Air National Guard and my unit. The knowledge I'm obtaining out here, I can carry with me throughout my career," said Staff Sgt. James Crimmins, 169th CES heavy equipment operator.

Civil engineer utilities, structures, heavy equipment, electricians, power production, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technicians all worked daily tasks outside of their normal Air Force duties to erect the buildings from the ground up.

The construction project started with contractual and material delivery delays, causing the overall progress to be approximately 9 days behind schedule when the 169th CES rotation began.

"The goals each week were tough to attain but our Airmen knocked it out the park and got the schedule back on track," said Fleischer. "Civil engineers are always expected to work hard with long hours. With the team effort between Prime BEEF, RED HORSE and Seabees, everyone excelled tremendously and exceeded all expectations."

The 200th RHS managed the construction project from the planning stages to mission execution.  RED HORSE along with Navy Seabees maintained project continuity throughout each unit rotation. Along with the 200th RHS and 169th CES, civil engineers from 103rd CES from Connecticut and 122nd CES from Indiana were a part of this project.