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Time to light it up with 28th CES electrical flight

Senior Airman Daniel Hatfield, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, changes a phosphorous light fixture at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. Phosphorous bulbs are ignited by a ballast, which causes a small spark to light the phosphor in the bulbs to turn on the lights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Senior Airman Daniel Hatfield, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, changes a phosphorous light fixture at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. Phosphorous bulbs are ignited by a ballast, which causes a small spark to light the phosphor in the bulbs to turn on the lights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Robert Stevenson, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, and Airman 1st Class Davon Labrew, 28th CES power production technician, recondition a high pressured sodium light fixture into a Light Emitting Diode light at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. As part of the streetlight initiative program, the electrical shop technicians will be converting all street and parking lot lights into energy saving LED lights, helping to reduce base energy consumption by 65 percent. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Robert Stevenson, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, and Airman 1st Class Davon Labrew, 28th CES power production technician, recondition a high pressured sodium light fixture into a Light Emitting Diode light at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. As part of the streetlight initiative program, the electrical shop technicians will be converting all street and parking lot lights into energy saving LED lights, helping to reduce base energy consumption by 65 percent. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Senior Airman Daniel Hatfield, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, closes a diffuser to a light fixture at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. Diffusers are used to separate and lessen the harshness of light emitted by the bulb. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Senior Airman Daniel Hatfield, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems technician, closes a diffuser to a light fixture at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Jan. 26, 2016. Diffusers are used to separate and lessen the harshness of light emitted by the bulb. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Another day has begun, you arrive at work to open your shop. Flick. The lights pop on, and you now see everything in the room, thanks to the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The 28th CES electrical flight ensures all of Ellsworth has lighting to get the mission accomplished, but there's more than meets the eye when it comes to illuminating the base.

The squadron is in charge of every light on the base, inside and out, to include flightline, interior and exterior lighting.

"Without electricity, there wouldn't be any nighttime operations," said Senior Airman Daniel Hatfield, 28th CES electrical systems technician. "It's a lot to take care of and learn. If one single part is incorrectly done, the whole entire [system] won't work."

Flightline lighting, a central mission of the electrical shop, consists of runway lights that guide our B-1 bombers as well as other aircraft during takeoffs and landings, ensuring mission support 24/7.

In addition to lighting the flightline, the electrical shop is pivotal to the continued operations of the base overall.

Interior lighting consists of 70 percent of overall base lighting and includes all the lights and power outlets present in base buildings. On the other hand, there is exterior lighting, like the light poles on-base that allow Airmen to see when driving, and outside building lights that are handled by the flight.

Hatfield commented there are a few unique challenges to the job too, such as changing the light at the top of Ellsworth's water tower.

"It's not the job itself that's difficult, it's the labor that goes into it," said Tech. Sgt. Justin Swanberg, 28th CES electrical systems technician. "Imagine carrying 50 pounds up a 120 foot ladder and then having to go back down with it. Heaven forbid you forget a tool once you get up there."

Hatfield added he is thankful for the great training they receive while being stationed at Ellsworth - they don't have to worry because they always know what they're doing.

Energy is essential to mission success, and to keep electrical costs at a minimum the flight started a streetlight initiative program in 2013. The $250,000 Department of Energy project will eventually switch all street and parking lot lights on base to energy efficient Light Emitting Diodes lights. In 2015, the program reduced the base's overall energy consumption by 65 percent, saving Ellsworth $225,000 and 4.5 million kilowatt-hours.

Whenever the lights go out or a bomber needs sight to take off, Ellsworth can count on the 28th CES electrical flight to get the job done.