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Concrete proof that CE paves the way to successful missions

  • Published
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing

The 332d Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment team members made repairs to a runway, in an undisclosed location June 17, 2023.

The team members laid down crack sealant, and cut concrete in order to repair surface damages to the runway called “spalls.”

Master Sgt. Chad Parnell, the non-commissioned officer in charge of pavements and equipment, the team also known as the “Dirtboyz,” within the 332d Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, explains the primary reason of making these necessary repairs to runways.

“The primary reason for spall repair is to reduce aircraft damage due to foreign object debris (FOD),” said Parnell. “We repair damaged pavements to provide a flush surface for aircraft operations, and to prolong the service life of the airfield.”

Damage is most commonly caused by a combination of factors, subjecting the runway pavement to intense abuse over time.

“Airfield spalls often occur by a combination of heavy operational use,” said Parnell. “Substandard pavements, as well as incompressible materials present in the joints, which present necessary movement of the slab due to thermal fluctuations.”

In an expeditionary environment maintaining an aircraft runway quickly and efficiently is critical to maintaining an ongoing mission.

“Repairing airfield pavements is essential to maintaining adequate load-carrying capacity, good ride quality necessary for safe operation of aircraft, and minimizes the potential for FOD.” said Parnell.

The work the Dirtboyz do while in an expeditionary environment is a perfect example of how performing a small and routine task will enable greater and more significant things to happen.

Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Greer, the senior enlisted leader of the 332 ECES, speaks very highly of her squadron and knows that without them the mission wouldn’t be possible.

“The men and women of the 332 AEW have consistently proven to be able to generate and execute air power,” said Greer. “However, without civil engineers, you literally wouldn’t have a runway to generate those sorties to support the CENTCOM mission.”

By repairing spalls and other pavement defects the Dirtboyz help sustain runway operations allowing the 332 AEW to project airpower and deterrence capabilities to multiple unified combatant commands and areas of responsibility, furthering AFCENT’s mission and cementing multinational partnerships.