Field training benefits Boy Scouts and Kentucky Air Guard civil engineers

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Phil Speck
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Civil engineers from the Kentucky Air National Guard spent part of their summer giving back to the community while accomplishing valuable annual training, renovating a Boy Scout camp in rural Maine.

About 30 Airmen from the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, based in Louisville, Kentucky, joined with 18 Airmen from the Tennessee Air Guard's 118th Civil Engineer Squadron and 20 Marine Corps Reservists to build cabins, install equipment and improve roads at Camp William Hinds in Raymond, Maine, as part of a Department of Defense program called Individual Readiness Training.

The training, which took place over two weeks in June, provided an outstanding opportunity to do something valuable for the civilian community while enhancing war-time readiness skills in civil engineering, said Chief Master Sgt. Marty Fautz, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd CES.

"Every career field had work," Fautz said. "The overall quality of the training was the biggest accomplishment. We got a lot of hands-on training for all of our (career fields) that the guys can't get back home. Some of the guys haven't touched the equipment we used since technical school, so it was a good two weeks for those guys."

The Scouts supplied building materials and equipment rentals -- paid for with private fund-raisers -- while the Air Guard and Marine troops provided labor that matched with their unique areas of expertise. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, power production specialists, heavy equipment operators and civil engineers all helped in the renovations, Fautz said.

The Airmen installed a zip line, graded roads, built cabins and renovated a dormitory building for Scouts and Scout Masters. Air Guard surveyors also worked extensively with the Marines, establishing plots for a shooting range by moving dirt and cutting into a hillside.

Fautz said mission was an especially rewarding one.

"When you talked to the civilians there that run the program, you could see how wrapped up they were with the Scouts, and how important and meaningful it was to do these upgrades for the benefit of the Scouts coming in," he said.

"There were no big roadblocks, the equipment was there, the supplies were there, the manpower was there -- we just had to cut the guys loose and let them go to work. When we left, everyone felt good about what they did and the training they got. It was a great trip."

Lt. Col. Phil Howard, commander of the 123rd CES, explained that a lot of summer IRTs come with a checklist of items that have to be accomplished on a tight schedule, but this one provided enough time to work at a measured pace.

"This allowed the guys to slow down and actually train some of the younger troops," he said. "Give them a hammer, in other words, rather than have the supervisors work on it because they have to get it done. So it was really an excellent training opportunity and one of the best (IRT missions) I've been on."