INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
(This feature is part of the "Lights Out" series. These stories focus on the operations Airmen conducted at Incirlik Air Base during the eight day commercial power outage in July 2016.)
In the wake of the Turkish military’s failed coup July 15, Airmen from the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron and across U.S. Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa demonstrate resilience by continuing day to day operations in addition to facility and equipment repairs here.
In an effort to ensure facilities, repairs and maintenance remain on schedule, members of the 39th CES received more than 50 Airmen from bases across USAFE. The additional personnel will be used to augment and relieve the workload of the current CES personnel completing tasks like; heating ventilation and air condition repair, sewage treatment lift maintenance and generator repair and maintenance.
“When the power was cut, one of the first actions we did was put in a request for forces through Headquarters USAFE,” said Maj. Miles Gilbert, 39th CES commander. “We requested additional power pro, electrical and utilities personnel to help backfill and augment our Vectors personnel that were out there keeping the generators operational and keeping the water treatment plant operational as a back fill.”
The CES’s request for forces was initially intended to ensure operations were minimally impacted by the absence of contractors, but now those forces are being fully utilized as augment and recovery personnel.
“My team was originally here to help out with people at the waste water treatment plant,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Bombardiere, 48th CES water fuels system maintenance technician. “Today, we’re changing out the water heaters so we can get the guys coming in good adequate hot water.”
While Gilbert admits the primary concern currently is maintenance operations on backup generators, some facilities, like the one Bombardiere refurbished, were key for morale and welfare of servicemembers and needed attention too.
“All of the infrastructure ties into ensuring the mission gets done here,” Gilbert said. “Everyone was flexible to responding to any maintenance report. All of the guys in CE responded very well. I’m extremely impressed with everybody.”
There is still plenty of work to do to ensure missions at Incirlik AB keep moving forward.
“We’re doing work,” Bombardiere said. “We’re not just pulling weeds or something. We’re doing what we were sent to be doing. Helping out people and helping out with the water treatment plant.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “It feels like you’re doing what you were supposed to do. We came here after, I think only a three day notice. We came here – boom, right to work. That’s something you only read about, ‘hey I had three days’ notice to come to Turkey.’”
Integrating CE members from across USAFE into an already task saturated squadron like the 39th CES may seem daunting. But, Bombardiere insisted it was another day at the office for the engineers.
“We’ve got a good bunch that came with us,” Bombardiere said. “We’re all USAFEs anyways and when we do training, a lot of times we do training together. CE works together. I worked with a fella I haven’t seen in probably about nine years and I saw him here. That’s really cool, it shows how close of an Air Force family we have.”
Gilbert said he expects the men and women here will continue to remain flexible and professional while continuing to exceed his expectations.
“I’m definitely proud to work with everyone in this squadron and this base,” Gilbert said.