Electrical shop brightens Whiteman

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force is known amongst the American public as a highly technical service that relies on technological advancements to accomplish its mission. However, without electricity, technology wouldn't go very far.

Thirty seven Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron, work on the electrical infrastructure of the base to maintain its power.

These Airmen work with everything from wall outlets to high voltage systems. They maintain the aircraft hangars and runway lighting fixture ensuring they are in good condition and the electrical alarms to ensure the base is safely guarded.

"We are everywhere," said Staff Sgt. James Thompson, 509th CES electrical systems craftsman. "Except, no one sees us until the lights are out.

"We are a support entity to make sure everyone can continue with the mission," he said. "If our systems are down, a majority of the base cannot do their jobs."

Sergeant Thompson said, over the last six to eight months, one of their recent high-profile projects has been to upgrade 90 percent of airfield fixture, visually providing an almost-new runway at a cost of around $500,000.

According to Airman 1st Class Dennis Myles, 509th Operations Support Squadron airfield management operations coordinator, the new light emitting diode lights are more power efficient, last longer and are noticeably brighter.

"Pilots are now able to see the borders of the runways and taxiways a lot better during extreme weather, making it safer and easier for them," said Airman Myles.

While the airfield received a lighting makeover, another group of electricians were tasked with helping spread a little holiday spirit with the holiday light display at mission's end.

"It was a very fun, creative project," said Senior Airmen Babatunde Red-Tacla and Steven Crump, 509th CES electrical systems journeymen. "Every year we like to try something new. We enjoy bringing the holiday spirit to the base."

It's easy to see all the work they perform throughout the base. Whether it's on the flight line or in holiday decorations, electrical systems Airmen are everywhere there's a spark.

"I love being an electrician," Sergeant Thompson said. "We have the advantage of going around base and seeing how our work directly impacts the mission."