Kentucky civil engineers hone skills with training at March Air Reserve Base

By Senior Airman Joshua Horton, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Tech Sgt. Nick Ketterer (left), Staff Sgt. Abe Hilbers (center) and Staff Sgt. Daniel Brooks (right), all Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, use surveying equipment during a training scenario at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., on June 10, 2015. The exercise was designed to simulate a real-world mission. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif.  — More than 50 Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron concluded a week-long training exercise here June 13 that was designed to enhance their job skills and command-and-control capabilities.

According to Lt. Col Rodney O. Boyd, deployment commander for the unit, the exercise provided CE Airmen with hands-on training in a natural, realistic environment.

“The purpose of this trip was two-fold,” Boyd said. “The first purpose was to accomplish (Air Force Specialty Code) training. CE requires specialized equipment that we don’t have at our home station, so this regional training site actually allows us to have the vehicles and equipment necessary to complete this training.

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Staff Sgt. Daniel Brooks, an engineer for the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, sets up surveying equipment during a training scenario at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., on June 10, 2015. The exercise was designed to simulate a real-world mission. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

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“The second purpose was to accomplish a command-and-control exercise that focused on communication up and down the chain of command,” Boyd continued. “We covered project management, production control, resource allocation and, most importantly, personnel accountability.”

The Kentucky Air Guardsmen were split into seven different groups representing the different functional areas within CE. A cadre from March Air Reserve Base was assigned to each team.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Brooks, a Kentucky Air Guard civil engineer, saw the trip as an opportunity to gain more real-world exposure.

“My expectations coming into this training were to get more hands-on experience,” Brooks said. “Often times with drill, we run into other things that take us away from our job, so I was hoping to get more in-depth training with what we do as civil engineers. We’ve gotten tons of hands-on training. This trip’s been great.”

According to Lt. Col. Phillip Howard, commander of the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, the exercise was a tremendous success.

“The exercise went really well,” he said. “The (Unit Control Center) tackled the things in the right priority, and everybody completed their tasks. Overall, we accomplished all the goals, and these guys did a fantastic job.

“It was a good team effort between the guys that were being exercised and the eight or nine guys that got together and formed the exercise team.”

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