28th CES the landlords

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Staker
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles about the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron and all they offer to the 28th Bomb Wing.

When turning on a light switch or driving down the road, Airmen probably don't think about who has control over the electrical systems or the various sections responsible for structural maintenance around base.

The mission of the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight is to ensure buildings, roads and the flightline are in working order at all times, allowing Ellsworth Airmen to complete their mission day in and day out.

"In a lot of ways we like to consider ourselves the landlords of the base," said Dustin Born, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight deputy commander. "We have approximately 300 personnel, a mixture of military and civilian, who maintain the base - all the buildings, the roads, the utility infrastructure and power."

Many sections make up the operations flight, from carpenters to electricians, and the base would not be operational without them.

"We have everything from structures craftsmen, or carpenters, who will replace a door knob, to power production craftsmen operating our generators and providing backup power in the middle of our snow storms," Born said. "Our job is to make sure everything is usable for the people who are in the buildings, driving on the roads, flying out of the flightline and taking care of the missions that we have at Ellsworth."

Low voltage, or standard outlets and lights inside buildings, and high voltage electrical systems, like the main power feeds into the base and airfield lighting, are maintained by the electrical shop.

"They also handle all our fire alarms systems: the sensing, the operators and notifications, which in turn are sent to the fire department who responds," Born said. "We also have power production, or our generator shop, and they take care of all of our standby power on base."

The snow barn, also known as 'dirt boys,' are the Airmen in charge of clearing the flightline of snow and responsible for repairing all pavements on base on base. Also known as the horizontal shop, these Airmen operate heavy equipment, pave roads and ensure the flightline is operational at all times.

"We also have our plumbers, or our Water and Fuel System Maintenance [Airmen]," Born said, explaining that these Airmen oversee everything from sewer lines and sprinkler systems to the hydrant fuel systems for Ellsworth's aircraft.

The Heating, Ventilation, Air Condition and Refrigeration shop handles all the heating and cooling units on the base, and recently replaced all the boilers within buildings such as lodging and the dorms, ensuring the units heat properly during colder weather.

"We also have our operations engineering, which is the section of the flight that takes care of any of our medium to long-term projects," Born said. "If we find that we're repairing something over and over, they're the ones who will take a look and analyze it."

Born added that the engineers will then determine if the issue requires a replacement project.

Within the long term portion of the operations engineering mission is the customer service section, which takes calls, dispatches work and takes care of data compilation. With data compilation, the engineers can take a look at previously recorded work orders and generate future tasks.

"We also have quite a few service contracts that we run," Born added. "Such as the trash collection on base, custodial workers cleaning bathrooms and common areas, and then our grounds maintenance on base. Those contracts fluctuate with the funding we get."

Born, a prior service civil engineer officer, added that it is gratifying to be a part of the 28th CES family and there's significant job satisfaction when the mission runs smoothly.

"Everything that happens on a day-to-day basis we touch in some fashion, whether it's helping someone get into their office because they were locked out of it, launching jets, or literally anything that occurs on base," Born said.