Air Guard Civil Engineer team takes second place in Air Force competition

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Madison Beichler
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Two civil engineers from the Kentucky Air National Guard helped their team earn second place in the Air Force Civil Engineer Readiness Challenge, held April 24-28 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Staff Sgts. Cathy Chasteen and Tristen Baxter, both assigned to Kentucky’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, were among a group of Air Guardsmen from a dozen units who comprised an Air Guard team at the prestigious competition. They competed against seven other teams representing Air Force Reserve Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Force District of Washington, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, and Pacific Air Forces.

The competition judged each 41-person team’s capabilities in a variety of areas like power production; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; pavement and equipment; water and fuels; pest management; operations; electrical; structures; firefighting; explosive ordnance disposal; and emergency management—all supervised by a civil engineer officer.

The Air Guard team differed from other teams due to its unique multi-unit make-up. Despite limited preparation time, they still secured an impressive second-place finish, underscoring the strength of their diversity and exemplifying the concept of multi-capable Airmen, Baxter said.

“We had a pest management task but no pest management people,” Baxter explained. “The Guard does not employ that position. But we were able to work together, and we actually won that task with the highest score.

“Some people on our team found out they were coming two days before,” he added. “The team that beat us had been practicing for two months prior, and we were only 20 points away from completely winning.”

Tasks were set to represent real-world applications, emphasizing the pivotal importance of readiness and the pragmatic utilization of job proficiency within dynamic and unpredictable scenarios.

Teams performed tasks such as constructing a helipad, setting up a decontamination facility, assembling a tent, responding to burn attacks and participating in a 7-mile ruck march.

Chasteen attributes the team’s success to the Air Guard’s combination of military and civilian expertise, allowing for increased capabilities spread across the group.