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Building an enduring foundation
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, known as "Dirt Boyz," lay concrete pads at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia April 16, 2013. The "Dirt Boyz" have dug trenches, poured 96 concrete pads, and set up t-walls, throughout the installation to aid in the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing's transition from expeditionary to enduring. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
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Dirt Boyz: Building an enduring future

Posted 4/24/2013   Updated 4/24/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/24/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- With the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing moving from expeditionary to enduring, there is a group of 20 Airmen who are critical to the transition - the 380th Civil Engineer Squadron "Dirt Boyz."

"The 'Dirt Boyz' are construction workers," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Laird, 380 ECES pavements and equipment craftsman, deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. "Our role is to prepare the foundation for an enduring base."

As the "Dirt Boyz" work to transform the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing into an enduring base, they are keeping busy digging trenches, pouring concrete, setting up T-walls and setting up concrete pads for future expansion, according to Laird.

"Our tempo is a little slower at an enduring base," the Virginia Beach, Va., native said. "At an enduring base we're just finding ways to improve it, but at an expeditionary base we're building it up."

While building the base is a big job, it's something the "Dirt Boyz" are ready for.

"We prepare at home for what we do over here," Laird explained. "This is where we get our big projects and the stuff we love doing."

The Airmen are given the opportunity for contingency-style training at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., setting up tents, running heavy equipment and preparing for airfield damage repair. Home-station training includes sidewalks, driveways or any other opportunities for practice.

"The only difference from a small job is just the amount of work, it's all the same stuff," Laird said.

Performing the work to make this an enduring location can present challenges, but nothing the "Dirt Boyz" can't handle, according to Laird.

"The guys we work with are incredibly talented, smart and they pick things up from day one," he said. "At the beginning of pouring all the new pads we had 22 days to get 40 of them done, so it was a bit intense, but it was fun at the same time."

Laird said knowing the impact the "Dirt Boyz" have on the enduring future of the base produces a lot of pride in the Airmen.

"You work hard, sweat hard and you stand next to a guy who you would protect to the end," he said. "There's nothing that makes you prouder than that."

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