Written by Seaman Allison Dowell
These units, the 103rd, 186th, and 157th, are civil engineering groups that hail from Connecticut, Mississippi, and New Hampshire and consist of approximately 50 airmen each. They include members whose specialties range from electricians and pipe fitters to heavy machinery operators and carpenters. Their engineering expertise not only allowed them to perform critical maintenance around the Air Station, but also upgrade and modernize the base and equipment via a myriad of projects.
The 103rd Air National Guard, tackled sidewalk repairs to address safety hazards, refurbishment of the C-130 hangar’s female head, and the construction of a concrete slab for the galley facility that will allow for the installation of new energy efficient freezers and refrigeration units. The 186th Air National Guard converted a mechanical room to allow building access and replaced deteriorating ceilings that posed a safety concern.
Finally, the 157th refurbished the H-60 hangar’s female heads and built a mechanical catwalk access area in the H-60 hangar. In addition to these major projects, all units improved the grading around the base athletic fields, replaced old water heaters and boilers with new energy efficient models, conducted much-needed preventative maintenance on generators, and installed a drainage ditch to provide positive drainage relief to eliminate the flooding issue that has plagued the MH-60 hangar for many years. Together, these projects eliminated multiple major safety hazards, brought several buildings within code standards, and increased energy savings by making the Air Station more efficient and robust.
By working in conjunction with the Air National Guard, Air Station Clearwater’s facilities engineering staff was able to plan, coordinate, and complete much larger projects that might have otherwise required costly civilian contracts.
The cohesiveness and synergy between the two services provided the timely completion of major projects while keeping up with the considerable task of required routine maintenance for the Coast Guards largest Air Station.
The Air National Guards’ specific expertise and skills were invaluable resources and saved our Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Government valuable time and money.
Air Station Clearwater was not the only party to reap significant benefits from this joint work project. According to SMSgt’s Beaudoin and Margelony, working aboard Air Station Clearwater provided much needed training for the Air National Guard units and in an environment with high morale, helpful hands, and grateful personnel.
This experience gained will continue to serve the Air National Guard units as they deploy abroad, creating a ripple effect extending to regions across the world.