Inside the 908th: Electrical Systems specialists

  • Published
  • By Maj. John T. Stamm
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Do you have an affinity for electrons, conductors and currents?  Do you know the difference between voltage, wattage, amperage and OHMS?  Would you like to?

Every Air Force base and installation around the world requires electricity to operate successfully, and Electrical Systems specialists, Air Force Specialty Code 3E0X1, ensure that a source of energy is always available.

“Electrical power is a lot like clean water; we take it very much for granted,” said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Powell, 908th Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Systems specialist. “It is very much a finite resource if used improperly.”

Electrical Systems specialists install, maintain and repair energized and de-energized interior, exterior, overhead and underground electrical power distribution systems and components such as capacitor banks, vacuum and air brake switches, breakers, transformers, fuses, lighting fixtures, receptacles and motors.  They also climb utility poles and operate special purpose vehicles and equipment, including line maintenance and high-reach trucks.

Airmen in this field inspect powerline poles for pest damage, deterioration, and loose hardware and inspect, test, and service overhead line conductors and direct buried cables, and those in underground ducts and conduits. They troubleshoot malfunctions and even test air samples in manholes for dangerous concentrations of combustible or toxic gases and oxygen deficiency.

Electrical Systems specialists may also maintain, inspect and repair special purpose electrical systems and portable airfield lighting systems including runway, threshold, approach, taxiway, visual glide slope, obstruction, and distance marker lights.


“Electrical Systems in CE is seven career fields in the civilian world,” said Powell.  “We do interior electrical, exterior electrical, high voltage, low voltage, airfield lighting systems, cathodic protection systems (for metal structures in direct contact with the ground), and fire alarms and protection systems.”

Specialists may also perform planning activities and conduct facility and proposed work surveys to determine resource requirements. They prepare cost estimates for in-service work and apply performance standards to plan and estimate jobs.

Individuals interested in this specialty must have a minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score of 43 on the Mechanical and 45 on the Electrical portions.  They must also be able to routinely lift 90 pounds and not possess a fear of heights.

Additionally, members must maintain proficiency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, and pole top, aerial lift, and manhole rescue.

“It takes a highly motivated, highly innovative individual with strong mental fortitude to work in this career field,” said Powell.  “But we get to do very cool stuff.  Like, when I was deployed to Balad, Iraq, I was working at the top of a 250-foot-tall light tower, and I could see all of Northern Iraq.  It was a long climb, but a beautiful view.”

If you are interested in a part-time career with full-time benefits as a Reserve Citizen Airman with the 908th Airlift Wing, please contact our Recruiting staff at 334-953-6737.