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Civil Engineers excel in airfield damage repair

U.S. Air Force Maj. Peeter Pleake-Tamm, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron Airfield Damage Repair officer in charge, conducts a briefing during a base recovery exercise June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Civil Engineers mapped out simulated battle damage to the runway and plotted the best course of action to fix the damage in the least time possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Peeter Pleake-Tamm, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron Airfield Damage Repair officer in charge, conducts a briefing during a base recovery exercise June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Civil Engineers mapped out simulated battle damage to the runway and plotted the best course of action to fix the damage in the least time possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Freeman Gleaves, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction craftsman, directs how much gravel to pour into a simulated runway crater during an exercise June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The airfield damage repair exercise gave Airmen an opportunity to test their ability to map runway damage and plot the best course of action to fix that damage in the shortest possible time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Freeman Gleaves, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction craftsman, directs how much gravel to pour into a simulated runway crater during an exercise June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The airfield damage repair exercise gave Airmen an opportunity to test their ability to map runway damage and plot the best course of action to fix that damage in the shortest possible time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction section, stand by to assist a loader as it unloads rocks into a crater June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The crater simulated runway battle damage, preventing aircraft takeoff. CES airmen were tasked to repair the damage as quickly as possible during an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction section, stand by to assist a loader as it unloads rocks into a crater June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The crater simulated runway battle damage, preventing aircraft takeoff. CES airmen were tasked to repair the damage as quickly as possible during an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Freeman Gleaves, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction craftsman, communicates with two loaders June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The CES Airmen were tasked with repairing a damaged portion of the runway while participating in an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Freeman Gleaves, 8th Civil Engineering Squadron pavement and construction craftsman, communicates with two loaders June 29, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The CES Airmen were tasked with repairing a damaged portion of the runway while participating in an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

Two U.S. Air Force loaders assigned to the 8th Civil Engineering Squadron unload rocks into a crater June 29, 2017, while participating in an exercise at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Airmen assigned to the CES were tasked with repairing a damaged portion of the runway while participating in an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

Two U.S. Air Force loaders assigned to the 8th Civil Engineering Squadron unload rocks into a crater June 29, 2017, while participating in an exercise at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Airmen assigned to the CES were tasked with repairing a damaged portion of the runway while participating in an airfield damage repair exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/Released)

Kunsan Air Base -- Airmen with the 8th Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Squadron conducted Airfield Damage Repair training June 29, 2017 at Kunsan Air Base, testing their ability to rapidly repair facilities and structures critical to flight operations on the base.

Though the environment was hot and humid, lacking in cooling wind, the CES Airmen trained to as real a scenario they could, donning protective chemical gear to simulate the conditions they could potentially operate in.

A major mission of Wolf Pack CES members is to ensure, regardless of circumstances, the runway remains operational enabling pilots to stay in the air.

“CES is in charge for a number of things but one of the main things they are responsible for is base recovery after an attack and restoration of structures and facilities, “said Maj. Peeter Pleake-Tamm, 8th CES ADR officer in charge.

To prepare for any potential runway problems, CES members train to expect the unexpected.

This month CES took time out of their regular schedules to focus on training younger Airmen and refreshing experienced Airmen on effectively and efficiently repairing damaged runways. Even though this was an exercise, CES members responded to damage that came onto the airfield and then took necessary steps to reconstitute the airfield so that aircraft can launch and be recovered as if it were a real world scenario.

“CES’s biggest goal in taking the fight north is to always make sure the runway is operational” said Tech. Sgt. John Farmer, 8th CES pavement and construction equipment operator. “We coordinate with other teams from electrical, airfield management, safety, and many more so we can all work together to complete the mission.”

The first step involved runway mapping to establish where the damage was located. Airfield management played a vital role in relaying necessary information and the airfield status to the engineering’s Airmen.

Once mapped, CES members gathered equipment and machinery to perform the task of repairing the damage to the airfield. Once on site, CES Airmen quickly filled and paved the damage, reestablishing the launch and recovery mission of the airfield.

With many moving parts and heavy equipment, picking up debris is an important task which keeps trucks and equipment constantly running. At all times, even in exercises like this, safety is a priority. While being safe is important, getting the runway operational is the goal of the mission so CES members must train constantly to ensure everything is in working before any real world situation happens.

“When everything is done and the crater is compacted, tested and covered with a mat instillation, that’s when the airfield lights are turned on,” said Pleake-Tamm. “When those lights come on as they’re supposed to, it’s a great feeling. That’s success.”