436th CES members assist Dyess AFB recover from winter storms

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Recent winter storms left Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, with infrastructure damage in excess of $1.4 million. To assist in the recovery efforts following the storm, the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron deployed three Airmen to Dyess AFB to repair plumbing and drywall, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning support. The deployment was part of a large effort that included civil engineers from six different installations aiding in the recovery.

Staff Sgt. Jamey Waltz and Senior Airman Levar Sealey, both 436th CES water and fuels system maintenance journeymen, as well as Senior Airman Perry Chrisco, a HVAC journeyman, deployed to support the efforts. All three regarded the experience as positive and were glad to help a base under a different command.

Thanks to their work experience from Dover AFB, they brought a skill set to Dyess AFB related to fire suppression system panel setup as they noted the different preventive maintenance priorities between the two bases.

“Working with a different command and shop definitely enhanced my knowledge on how CE operates,” Sealey stated. “The best part about being there was seeing the similarities on how their squadron operates compared to ours. It was nice to be in a different setting with different Airmen and still get the mission done.”

The infrastructure at Dyess AFB was not designed to handle the near subzero temperatures the storm brought with it. As Dover AFB’s HVAC representative, Chrisco was tasked to install a new boiler to provide heat to a vital facility.

“I was tasked [to perform] a boiler install, coil install and repaired many leaks,” said Chrisco. “For the boiler install, I had to install a new gas line as well as a flow switch. We had to reprogram the control board so that it functions correctly with the new boiler. The coil install was tricky; there were many bolts and screws to take out and put in in a very small space.”

Facilities across the installation saw challenges from water damage due to burst pipes and lost potable water for 24 hours. Fire suppression systems also suffered frozen pipes, rendering them inoperable.

“I repaired fire suppression systems and backflow preventers that were frozen and damaged from the storm,” said Waltz. “The main obstacle getting Dyess back to normal operations was waiting for and procuring parts for the repairs.”

The successful deployment of the three Airmen, according to Senior Master Sgt. Peter Leborgne, 436th CES operations flight superintendent, was due to the civil engineer career field’s Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force concept. This concept provides skills, learned at Dover AFB, to prepare Airmen for various types of recovery missions in many different environments. This experience helped get the base back to normal operations.

“The Prime BEEF concept was designed for wartime scenarios, but the training our engineers complete in the day-to-day maintenance of Dover AFB prepares them for many types of recovery operations,” said Leborgne. “Air Force Installations are power projection platforms, and I am extremely proud of the team in their efforts to recover Dyess AFB.”