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Force protection, Marines help ‘Dirt Boys’ lay ground work

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable
  • 407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 407th Air Expeditionary Group and Marines with the Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 recently had the opportunity to help with a civil engineering project by assisting in prepping and pouring three large concrete pads throughout the month of April at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

The force protection Airmen and Marines came together with the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron to do the ground work in preparation for the construction of 8K and 4K canvas dome shelters.

“Typically my crew is seven other Airmen, but tonight we have joint force support,” said Tech Sgt. Steven Ramge, 407th ECES maintenance and equipment NCO in charge. “We have six Marines and Airmen from force protection that have volunteered to assist us with this project.”

The three new shelters will provide 20,000 square feet of storage area which will be used to house War Reserve Materials.

WRM is used to build Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) kits, which are material and equipment needed for establishing a bare base in a deployed location with prepositioned assets used for supporting wartime capabilities.

A specialized group will be building the shelters, which is called J2 team. J2 teams are comprised of specialists that can build, demolish or repair large-area maintenance shelters, 4K and 8K dome shelters and aircraft hangars.

The concrete pads need to be finished before the arrival of the J2 team. Because of the size of the project, the volunteers were needed to help meet that deadline.

“I’ve never poured this much concrete before, but I have the confidence that this will be done on time especially with the Marines and force protection guys helping us out,” said Senior Airman Cody Dube, 407 ECES heavy equipment and pavements operator. “We appreciate them coming out because this is a pretty cool thing that we get to do.”

With the deadline to be finished fast approaching, everyone is confident that the joint team will be done on time.

“They will absolutely be done in time,” said Senior Master Sgt. Garrett Clark, 407th ECES operations flight superintendent. “We have a bunch of hard workers and a big team. “We’ve pulled together from the Marines, across the squadron and force protection,” added Clark. “And anytime you are working towards a common goal, it’s usually always successful.”

Meeting the deadline wasn’t the only benefit from bringing together such a collections of people.

“Working together is dual purpose,” Ramge continued. “They get training and work with materials they might not normally use. It also takes some of the work off of us because this is a very large project.”

While working together, members from the two services were able to compare the way they get the job done.

“It think it’s really beneficial and fun working together, and now we realize that the Air Force and Marine Corps isn’t that different,” said Sgt. Zackary Donelson, Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 combat engineer.

There are definitely aspects that are different though, he added. They are taking this opportunity to improve themselves and learn from each other.