Red Devils keep Kunsan cool
8/3/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- "It's too hot, it's too cold."
This is what the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron heating, ventilation and air conditioning shop hears on a daily basis.
To keep up with customers' demands, these "HVAC guys" work in extreme weather around the clock to make the Wolf Pack as comfortable as possible.
Often, they pool resources with other CE shops to get the job done. Their recent project replacing the chiller unit in a 100-man dormitory required them to work with heavy equipment operators and electricians.
"In our squadron, it's not an attitude of 'You go do this, I'll go do that,'" said Senior Airman Timothy Atwater, 8th CES HVAC technician. "It's always a team effort -- everyone has their part. In a project like this where we are replacing a key piece of equipment, that mentality is even more important."
Replacing a chiller starts with disconnecting and removing the old one. This includes a timely process of disassembling pipes, removing screws and planning for the new unit.
"The hardest part is removing the old water lines," said Atwater. "Then we disconnect all power and get the crane operators out here to lift the entire unit out."
The "Dirt Boys," who are called when cranes, front loaders or steamrollers are needed, helped lift the nearly 2.5-ton unit from its resting place. Once the old unit was removed, they used the crane again to lower in the new unit.
"We've worked with HVAC so many times, it happens like clockwork," said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Wallace, 8th CES pavements and equipment NCO in charge. "They just tell us what they need, and we'll get it done. No matter how hard the job is or how difficult the conditions are, we get it done."
The HVAC guys on the ground helped navigate the new unit into position, making sure all power and water supplies lined up with the new configuration. They scraped paint from the pipes to make sure the new seals would fit.
However, while hooking everything back up, they ran into a problem: The new unit didn't have a place for the electrical wires to run through. They called out electricians from the shop and after an eight-hour day in the sun, the project was finally wrapped up.
"It took three shops to complete this job, which has a big impact on the comfort of the dorm residents," said Atwater. "When the job is done and the equipment is running, it feels good to know I did something for the Wolf Pack."