Digging into a major project

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Matthew S. Domingos
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 509th Civil Engineer Squadron is hard at work bringing more reliable power to the Whiteman Air Force Base water treatment facility.

CES is modifying the facility to connect it to back up and emergency power and to install a new generator.

“In the case of an emergency where the water treatment plan is to lose power, we have a generator there that is more than capable of bringing the facility back online and is capable of running the entire facility for as long as it needs to,” said Airman 1st Class Isaiah Groth, 509th CES electrical power production technician.

Power production Airmen like Groth have been working together with Airmen from other civil engineering shops like heavy equipment, electrical, and plumbing on the project.

“This is the first time I've seen something like this at Whiteman, but stuff like this is more common when you're planning downrange missions and setting up an actual power plant,” said Groth. “You'll work with all the different engineering units because there's a lot of things that need to be coordinated.”

This fact makes this project an important learning opportunity said 509th CES high-voltage electrician Tony Morris.

“Airmen and NCOs across the board are going to benefit from practical knowledge and hands-on training all the way through this project,” he said.

This project is being done entirely by Airmen from the 509th CES without any support from outside contractors.

“By my estimation, this will probably be, dollar wise, one of the largest projects civil engineering has ever tried to conduct internally,” said Morris.

For many of the Airmen doing the work, it’s the first time they’ve worked on a project like this one.

“These young Airmen have never had to excavate in a situation where there's potential for electrical conductors, fiber optic lines and everything else,” said Morris.

Having to coordinate across different shops within the squadron gives Airmen an opportunity to work together and practice in a controlled environment before they take those skills downrange.

Beyond safeguarding the base and its residents in an emergency, this project has also given CES Airmen an opportunity to prove their readiness to tackle large scale projects…anytime, anywhere.