'Dirt Boyz' raise morale with rocks

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Whether it's pouring concrete or moving dirt around, the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Heavy Equipment Section has it covered.

Affectionately known as the 'Dirt Boyz,' the 14-man section has, among other projects, poured 83.5 cubic meters of concrete and hauled 12,973 cubic meters of gravel to BAF in the last three months.

"We've been getting work orders nonstop," said Senior Master Sgt. Patrick O'Brien, 455 ECES heavy equipment superintendent.

The 'Dirt Boyz' are responsible for supporting the flightline here through various projects, including creating berms for ammunition depots and digging trenches for power lines or drainage.

"We've done a lot of ... projects where we've leveled and excavated," said Master Sgt. Jeff Young, 455 ECES heavy equipment supervisor, "we've eliminated flooding problems in areas."

The section also performs more mundane, but much appreciated, tasks such as putting down gravel to strengthen dirt roads. Master Sgt. Doug Gavilanez, 455 ECES heavy equipment operator, said the 3,500 cubic meters of gravel the section has put down improves safety.

"If you walk on some of this mud, especially if you've got your [individual body armor] on, you could twist your ankle," he said. "It's like cement."

Gavilanez said laying down crushed rock, at one of the more heavily used entry control points, was one of the more rewarding jobs he's been a part of at Bagram.

"Those security forces guys would be standing there, and the road is all messed up, and they're sitting in six inches of water," he recalled. "We went out there and repaired that whole road and made it safer, we made it more conducive to [searches]... fixing that road was definitely a big accomplishment."

Whenever the civil engineers bring their cement mixers, graders or bulldozers, they always attract spectators and volunteers.

"People are fascinated, especially when you have skilled operators that make it look so easy," said Young. "Everyone wants to play with the Tonka trucks; we had them when we were kids, now we have the big version."