8th Fighter Wing CE forms team, tackles snow
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Six F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 80th Fighter Squadron “Juvats” returned home from temporary deployment in Singapore in support of Commando Sling, February 6, 2018; however, leaving for the training exercise was a bigger task than they anticipated.
Prior to the Juvats’ departure window on January 12, more snow accumulated within a 36-hour period than in the entire previous year. The metrological dilemma sent the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron ‘Dirt Boys’ into overdrive to enable continued aircraft launch and recover operations on the flightline.
During this time, crews at Kunsan worked diligently to stay on top of the weather and transitioned into 24-hour snow-removal operations.
“For light snow, anything less than two inches over a 24 hour period, it takes 12 people, six equipment operators on the airfield, and six augmentees to help out on the base streets,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Turba, 8th CE section chief. “When we have a huge snowfall, like we did from January 7-9, we needed every available piece of snow equipment utilized to keep things up and running. That added up to 34 people operating on all cylinders to ensure mission readiness—22 personnel on the airfield, and 12 personnel on the base streets.”
Timely communication is key when determining what processes must be executed, and the team worked non-stop until all snow was cleared and aircraft could take-off from the runway safely. The level of communication and timing to launch the Juvats even meant clearing portions of the runway to allow a jet to pass quickly, only to have it re-freeze again.
"It was an incredible Wolf Pack-wide effort to make this happen, to include the maintainers shifting the jets to the flows the day prior, constant coordination and prioritizing with the 80th and Operations Support Squadron, Logistics Readiness Squadron keeping our snow removal fleet running, and of course our ‘Dirt Boys’, Power Pro, and snow removal augmentees, who were all in to make sure the airfield was safe for the Juvats to launch,” said Maj. Chris Cagle, 8th CE operations flight commander.
Mission readiness is a high priority at the Wolf Pack, which requires all members across varying functional areas to communicate and cohesively work as one.
"Wolf talks a lot about the importance of cross-functional coordination and how it drives the Wolf Pack mission,” said Cagle. “This was about as good as it gets."