Civil Engineers excel in airfield damage repair

by Senior Airman Colville McFee, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

Kunsan Air Base -- Airmen with the 8th Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Squadron conducted Airfield Damage Repair training June 29, 2017 at Kunsan Air Base, testing their ability to rapidly repair facilities and structures critical to flight operations on the base.

Though the environment was hot and humid, lacking in cooling wind, the CES Airmen trained to as real a scenario they could, donning protective chemical gear to simulate the conditions they could potentially operate in.

A major mission of Wolf Pack CES members is to ensure, regardless of circumstances, the runway remains operational enabling pilots to stay in the air.

“CES is in charge for a number of things but one of the main things they are responsible for is base recovery after an attack and restoration of structures and facilities, “said Maj. Peeter Pleake-Tamm, 8th CES ADR officer in charge.

To prepare for any potential runway problems, CES members train to expect the unexpected.

This month CES took time out of their regular schedules to focus on training younger Airmen and refreshing experienced Airmen on effectively and efficiently repairing damaged runways. Even though this was an exercise, CES members responded to damage that came onto the airfield and then took necessary steps to reconstitute the airfield so that aircraft can launch and be recovered as if it were a real world scenario.

“CES’s biggest goal in taking the fight north is to always make sure the runway is operational” said Tech. Sgt. John Farmer, 8th CES pavement and construction equipment operator. “We coordinate with other teams from electrical, airfield management, safety, and many more so we can all work together to complete the mission.”

The first step involved runway mapping to establish where the damage was located. Airfield management played a vital role in relaying necessary information and the airfield status to the engineering’s Airmen.

Once mapped, CES members gathered equipment and machinery to perform the task of repairing the damage to the airfield. Once on site, CES Airmen quickly filled and paved the damage, reestablishing the launch and recovery mission of the airfield.

With many moving parts and heavy equipment, picking up debris is an important task which keeps trucks and equipment constantly running. At all times, even in exercises like this, safety is a priority. While being safe is important, getting the runway operational is the goal of the mission so CES members must train constantly to ensure everything is in working before any real world situation happens.

“When everything is done and the crater is compacted, tested and covered with a mat instillation, that’s when the airfield lights are turned on,” said Pleake-Tamm. “When those lights come on as they’re supposed to, it’s a great feeling. That’s success.”

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