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380th ECES’ Road to Renovation

Tech. Sgt. Valerie Jacobs poses for a photo.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Valerie Jacobs, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsman, poses for a photo in the newly renovated pavilion at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, March 29, 2021. Jacobs was one of the lead project managers for the entire renovation, and was chosen to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miranda A. Loera)

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab --

Renovations are an important part of keeping a base fresh and up-to-date. Seeing a project come to fruition can be rewarding especially for the ones working behind the scenes from start to end.

The 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron worked day-in and day-out to complete a newly renovated pavilion. After being handed a 60-day timeline for completion, the members of the 380th ECES went right to work.

“This has been the largest project I’ve led so far in my career,” said Tech. Sgt. Valerie Jacobs, 380th ECES structural craftsman. “This was a high visibility [project] with a strict timeline which allowed no room for error. I was challenged to work on my project/time/people management skills all at once. Luckily, I had a team full of motivated Airmen who showed up every day ready to tackle whatever needed to get done”

Like most big projects, some road blocks turned up for the ECES members. One of them being an uncontrollable obstacle: Mother Nature.

“Due to the weather [fog], we were postponed numerous times and it even required for us to move to a night shift for one concrete pour and back to day shift the very next day,” said Tech Sgt. Douglas Dees, 380th ECES pavements and equipment NCO in charge. “We stayed flexible and resilient and pushed through. It was a larger project right in the middle of the base with all eyes on the project and the team absolutely killed it.”

With the project being tasked during the end of most of the 380th ECES members’ rotation, they knew they could not let up on the gas. Originally being tasked with only minor changes (i.e. add plywood, re-painting, etc.), they took it upon themselves to demolish the whole foundation and build it from scratch.

“My team rallied hard to complete this on time,” said Jacobs. We built it correctly and efficiently, and now it will be there for the next 20 years. We all came together because ECES is a team-based squadron and nothing gets accomplished alone.”