View Full Version : Air Force Engineers Support Marine Efforts in Al Anbar

05-18-09, 07:24 AM
Air Force Engineers Support Marine Efforts in Al Anbar

II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd)

Courtesy Story
Date: 05.17.2009
Posted: 05.17.2009 09:13

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq – Buildings, roads and water are resources used by military personnel every day, but the tools and labor involved to create and maintain those resources are not as obvious. Airmen with Facility Engineer Team 14, 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, currently serving aboard Al Asad Air Base, however, work behind-the-scenes to ensure service members can freely access those resources.

"Our overall mission is to provide engineering support to the Base Command Group, Marine Aircraft Wing, and Multi-National Force - West units to improve quality of life and the mission," said Air Force Maj. Dwayne T. McCullion, the FET detachment commander.

The nine-man team consists of five engineers who work with representatives from the BCG, 2nd MAW (Fwd), and MNF-W units to plan the designs, set financial goals and supervise the projects. Additionally, there are four engineering assistants who take those designs, survey the intended construction area and begin taking the necessary steps to bring those ideas to fruition.

McCullion said this deployment has provided the FET members with more hands-on experience than what they are normally accustomed to getting. He went on to say that civilian contractors are responsible for most of the survey and design labor in the United States, while the airmen normally tackle managerial and supervisory duties.

In Iraq though, the FET engineers are able to move outside their offices and get their hands dirty tackling the important jobs that will enable coalition forces to accomplish their assigned missions. The engineering team said their experiences in Iraq have increased their technical knowledge that will in turn improve their managerial skills back in the States.

"Now that I have done the hands-on work, I'll be able to better assess construction issues," said Air Force 1st Lt. Walter Lee, a project engineer with the FET. "I can better visualize what I'm looking at."

The FET has responded to a number of challenging engineering projects throughout the Al Anbar province. They have helped relocate helicopter landing zones, rewired aircraft hangars and work spaces, and recently designed a water line for Camp Baharia that replaced an older model prone to breakages that interrupted water flow to the coalition base. They have also been responsible for updating base maps and supervised the installation of a perimeter fence around Al Asad.

The FET also worked with the engineers of 2nd MAW (Fwd) to design a metal pipe that protects fiber-optic cables running across a wadi aboard Al Asad.

"The FET provides us with timely and accurate engineering designs that allow us to execute engineered missions," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Basso, an engineer officer with 2nd MAW (Fwd). "They truly helped me out a lot and are a valuable asset in aiding the MAW."

Much of the work accomplished by the FET is transparent to those they serve. When a light switch is flipped and a room is illuminated, water comes out of a faucet, or an intruder is stopped from entering Al Asad by a tall fence topped by concertina wire, it is often because of the hard work and long hours put in by the airmen of FET-14.

Although working in a region dominated by Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, these Airmen, alongside their brethren engineers in the Marine Corps, Army and Navy, are making a tangible contribution to the coalition's ongoing success in Al Anbar province.