CE renovates Maine Scout facility

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Joshua Horton
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
About 30 civil engineers from the Kentucky Air National Guard began renovating a Boy Scout camp here along with other service members June 18 in a two week-long training exercise.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Lee, project manager from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., the operation was an Innovative Readiness Training endeavor, which provides training and readiness for military personnel while addressing public and civil-society needs.

“The way this works is that you have different DoD affiliates,” Lee said. “Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve. They’re all construction-specific jobs, and we are here to help support the Boy Scouts on construction projects. We give them free labor, and we get free training out of it. So it works hand-in-hand, and we’re doing something for the community.”

Members of the KYANG, Air Force Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve made up one of the final rotations for the project, which employed a different group of Guard and Reserve servicemembers every two weeks at Camp William Hinds.

Some of the tasks included the installation of a fire hydrant and the construction of a pavilion, septic drain field, latrine building, a fireplace/chimney, bathroom, earthen damn and multiple Adirondack shelters, tables and benches. Additionally, the Airmen and Marines repaired a sewage lift system and a cabin while also providing electrical work and designing a drainage system for a newly constructed dining facility.

Maj. Jarret Goddard, operations officer for Kentucky’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, said the exercise provided valuable training for unit members.

“I feel like the work that was done here was needed for our unit,” Goddard said. “With previous (Deployed Field Training exercises), we’ve done work that wasn’t as specific to our (Air Force Specialty Codes).

“Here, we’re actually getting the more specialized training for our individual shops, which is important.

“It gives all of our shops training that we couldn’t otherwise get during (Unit Training Assembly) weekends or any other areas around Kentucky,” Goddard continued. “It gets all of our shops together, and we can form some bonds and camaraderie around our squadron, at the same time getting AFSC-specific training on materials and tools that we don’t have at our unit.”

Airman First Class John Meldrum, a new structural engineer for the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, saw the trip as an especially valuable training opportunity.

“I’m getting a lot out of the training,” Meldrum said. “What’s unique about structures is that you can’t really do it indoors like you could with utilities. It all has to be outdoors if you want to start from scratch. There are things that get in the way of training during drill, so this trip provides a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience. You learn small carpentry tricks that you wouldn’t ordinarily learn through reading a textbook. It’s something you could only get through hands-on, tactile training.”

According to Scott Martin, the facility ranger and property superintendent for the Boy Scouts’ Pine Tree Council, the operation not only provides free labor for the camp, but also inspiration for the Scouts.

“It’s very meaningful to the Scouts when they get the benefit of having a brand-new building, brand-new facilities, rifle ranges, and so on,” Martin said. “Also, the youth get to see the military in action in hopes that it may let them think about joining the military when they get older.”

On the final day of the trip, Lee addressed the Airmen and Marines in an award ceremony while praising the servicemembers as the “best” he’s worked with over his many rotations.

‘“I want to tell you that you’re the number-one unit in my rotation,” Lee said. “I couldn’t have run this show without the leadership that came here on this trip. You’re by far the best rotation I’ve had.”