D.C. Air National Guard civil engineers deploy to U.S. Coast Guard Academy for training
By Lt. Col. Eric Swanson, 113th Civil Engineer Squadron
/ Published June 25, 2015
NEW LONDON, CT -- A team of 38 Airmen from the District of Columbia Air National Guard's 113th Civil Engineer Squadron is currently conducting a deployment for training at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) in New London, Connecticut from June 14-27.
The Airmen are executing a variety of construction, renovation, and maintenance projects in support of the Academy. This work includes installing heaters and drinking fountains; replacing over 35 signposts with decorative cast posts; replacing damaged sections of sidewalks; replacing drop ceilings and installing new high voltage switchgear and other electrical equipment to upgrade the campus infrastructure. In addition, the team is training and conducting preventive maintenance on several of the many portable and permanent generator sets the USCGA uses.
This is the second year of the joint partnership between the USCGA and Air National Guard civil engineer units.
"The experience has been nothing short of fantastic for the CGA's Facility Engineering Branch. The 113th Wing (DCANG) team has really impressed everyone at the Academy, their hard work and positive attitude was contagious and they continued to build upon the impressive reputation that the two previous ANG units left from the year before. Without their help most of these projects would have been deferred to a contractor or scrapped entirely, so it was a blessing to have the crew of the 113th spend two weeks helping us out!" stated Lt. Liam McCue, Construction Project Manager with the Academy.
In 2014, two units erected a masonry and wood building and installed electrical and plumbing infrastructure for use as a restroom facility adjacent to sports fields. These previous two teams left a lasting impression on the Academy's Facilities Engineering department, which prompted them to request ANG support during 2015. The joint arrangement between the ANG and the USCGA provides a twofold benefit; the ANG gets hands-on training on real-world projects, and the Academy benefits by receiving low cost labor and the ability to execute projects they otherwise would not have the funding to complete. The Coast Guard estimates the overall savings to be close to $250,000.
The Academy was founded in 1876. Its setting along the banks of the Thames River provides a unique setting for the Air Force engineers to practice their AFSC specific skills while executing value added projects for the Academy. Airman 1st Class Sierra Murphy, on her first CE deployment for training describes the training so far.
"The experience is unique. It is cool that we are part of the Academy for a couple of weeks. I appreciate the experience of being in Connecticut," said Murphy.
Teamwork was widespread with everyone chipping in to complete the projects, while using their individual skillsets. Airmen were able to gain a new perspective of the different career fields for the first time. Staff Sgt. John Simpson, who was working closely with the electricians, describes his experience.
"This DFT has given the Power Production Shop a unique opportunity to install a 600 amp transfer switch. Even though we learn about transfer switches and the way they operate, the electricians would normally do the installation. I am thankful to the USCGA for giving us this opportunity," said Simpson.
In addition to the construction projects, some members of the team were provided the opportunity fire the Coast Guard's Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun on their indoor shooting range. Other members conducted backflow prevention training that covered regulations and requirements for installation and inspection of these systems. Engineering Assistants surveyed for an underground cable installation. Lastly, a number of the Airmen worked closely with the Academy's public works section to complete work orders and conduct preventive maintenance.
Overall, the experience has been a very successful training event that has greatly benefited both the 113th Civil Engineer Squadron and the United States Coast Guard Academy. The Airmen of the 113th have improved their skills while learning about the culture and history of the Coast Guard.