Time to light it up with 28th CES electrical flight

  • Published
  • By Airman Sadie Colbert
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
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.