We are The 908th: The 908th Civil Engineer Squadron

  • Published
  • By Bradley J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Editor’s note: “We are The 908th” is a 16 part series, running biweekly, detailing the workings of the various units in the 908th Airlift Wing. This is part 11, giving insight on the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The 908th Civil Engineer Squadron is the unit responsible for the rapid repair of damage to airfields and other critical facilities during wartime; in peacetime, they construct and maintain bases for the air force to operate out of.

The 908th CES is a Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force, which is a rapidly deployable, specialized civil engineer unit of the United States Air Force. Prime BEEFs provide a full range of engineering support required to establish, operate, and maintain garrison and contingency airbases.

Commanded by Lt. Col. Danielle Poyant, the squadron’s mission is to “provide combat ready engineering, construction, emergency management and fire rescue forces capable of worldwide deployment.” Their vision is to “build resilient Citizen Airmen equipped to lead, develop and innovate in support of the total force mission.”

Their core competencies and mission capabilities are to develop and maintain highly skilled civil engineer forces capable of: reacting rapidly to support Air and Space contingency and installation sustainment missions, supporting wartime mobility and mission requirements in accordance with their designed operational capability statement, and support critical installation asset requirements.

According to Poyant, the 908th CES priorities are, “to be fully trained in our Air Force Specialty Codes, to be physically fit at all times, and to be medically cleared in order to sustain high readiness and remain ready to be deployed when called upon.”

In order to accomplish those priorities, the squadron takes its more than 110 members, across 13 different AFSCs, three of which are full-timers with the remaining being traditional reservists, and divides them into 11 different sections including the water and fuels section, the pest management section, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning section, the power production section, the structures section, the heavy equipment section, the engineering section, the operations management section, the emergency management section, and the fire protection section.

“The water and fuels section responds to pipeline breaks, plumping issues and provides fuel,” explained Poyant.

“The pest management section helps mitigate pest problems throughout the base,” continued Poyant.

“The HVAC section provides HVAC/ refrigeration for installation sustainment and contingency operations,” said Poyant. “They make working environments safe and more comfortable.”

The electrical section responds to power outages, lighting problems, electrical wiring requests and other such things,’ explained Poyant.

“The power production section works very closely with the electrical section, conducting generator tests throughout the base,” continued Poyant.

“The structures section does preventative maintenance on buildings throughout the base to ensure structural integrity is good,” said Poyant. “They also construct objects such as doors, shelves, tents and those related items.”

“The heavy equipment section operates heavy machinery and tends to roads and pavements,” explained Poyant. “They also help clean the flight line with a sweeper vehicle.”

“The engineering section surveys the landscape throughout the base and provides maps of the base,” continued Poyant.

“The operations management section is considered the face of CE,” said Poyant. “They receive work requests from base tenants then assign thee requests to the appropriate sections. They then track all work requests from start to finish while also ordering parts and tools for craftsmen that enable them to accomplish work requests.”

“The emergency management section provides training that prepares personnel for chemical and or biological warfare tactics,” explained Poyant. “They teach members the importance of being ready to include how to wear gear that will protect them from such attacks.”

“The fire protection section directs and plans fire protection activities, these Airmen analyze fire protection operations for trends and potential problems and devise corrective measures if any issues are discovered,” explained Poyant. “They provide fire protection guidance, coordinate pre-incident plans, and train others on specialized fire protection equipment and procedures. Fire protection specialists also inspect and maintain fire protection vehicles, equipment, and protective clothing, and manage fire alarm communications centers. They inspect Air Force facilities for fire hazards, ensure fire extinguishers are inspected and distributed as needed, and conduct fire prevention awareness and training. In a field or combat environment, these airmen will be called upon to control and extinguish fires, using fire apparatus, specialized tools, and equipment, hoses, and pumps. They establish emergency operations command systems, preserve and protect evidence at emergency scenes and investigate fires after the fact to determine their origin or cause. Aboard an aircraft, fire protection specialists' skills are particularly valuable; they shut down engines safely in the event of a fire, conduct search and rescue operations, and administer emergency first aid.”

That’s all for the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron. Check back in a couple of weeks to see what unit will be featured next in “We are The 908th.”