Bluegrass engineers support combat operations in Afghanistan
By Staff Report, 123d Airlift Wing
/ Published May 12, 2011
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky Airmen from the 123d Civil Engineer Squadron are sustaining combat operations and maintaining one of the most important airfields in Afghanistan.
At Bagram Airfield, the Airmen are supporting Emergency Management, base operations and facilities engineering.
"The importance of the mission is to keep the sorties flying," said Lt. Col. Phillip Howard, who commands the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. According to the colonel, the opportunity to support efforts to "fly, fight and win" is a motivating factor for the deployed engineers.
"They feel what they are doing is great. They are supporting a war effort and doing a job they love. We have already had a few members recognized for outstanding work."
Colonel Howard said the Airmen's emergency management technicians were responsible for po¬tential Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive threats on the base, spills and other emergency operations.
The operations team include work on structures, utilities, heavy equipment, power production, electrician work and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. They maintain all of the equipment that keeps the base operational.
Meanwhile, in terms of engineering, Kentucky Airmen are providing a vital service in managing the planning, design and construction of all airbase facilities.
The colonel said his Airmen trained extensively for their mission and their preparedness was paying off.
"I feel they are producing exactly as I felt they would," he said. "They are the best civil engineer squadron in the Air National Guard and show it every day."
"The hours are long and the work is hard, but we are proud to represent the Commonwealth of Ken¬tucky and getting this unique mission done," said Maj. Keith Smith, a deployed squadron member.
Despite the challenges they face, the Airmen are exceeding expectations, Colonel Howard reported.
"Wing members should be proud of us. We are doing a job that we train for all the time and now we get to show how good we are," he said.