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380AEW Article

Choice cuts: BEEFing up the base

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

Engineers are known for leading the way. A group of engineers assigned to the Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron, more commonly known as “Prime BEEF”, has been embodying this concept since their arrival just a few short months ago.

The 577 EPBS is organized under the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group and is a mix of active duty, reserve and guard Airmen working together to achieve their overall mission.

“We do cradle to grave construction,” said Maj. Ivan, 577 EPBS detachment commander. “We do stand-alone small to medium construction projects, from programming to real estate capitalization as well as working with larger units such as Red Horse, Seabees and Army engineer battalions to build large scale projects.”

Prime BEEF provides installation support by focusing on managing real property, facilities and infrastructure on U.S. or enduring bases in geographic combatant commands outside the U.S.

“We plug a big hole here,” said Ivan. “It is not easy to find capable contractors to come on base to do the work that needs to be done. We are what I like to call the ‘easy button’ for U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Tell us what to do and we build it.”

Prime BEEF is equipped with every specialty such as structures, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electricians, power production, water and fuels systems maintainers, heavy equipment, operations managers and engineering assistants, and are capable of providing full range of engineering expertise to establish, sustain and recover base operations.

“We have a really good mix,” said Ivan, currently deployed from the 154th Civil Engineer Squadron guard unit from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. “These guys do this type of work on the outside and they do a great job.”

“We do a little bit of everything,” said Senior Airman Timothy, water and fuels system maintenance technician. “I have helped with drywall, insulation and building a ramp. They needed help, so I stepped up and helped. I do everything I can to help.”

Prime BEEF has been working on a variety of projects, including an airfield security fence and replacing $280K of new showers in the Army barracks. Additionally, Prime BEEF has been working on a $325K vehicle wash rack upgrade, as well as constructing a 13.5’x13.5’x8’, 12-inch thick concrete electrical vault and 31 foot reinforced horizontal stem wall for the Communications Squadron.

“We are also executing the number one morale project for the base,” said Ivan, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. “We are expanding Roy’s Kitchen.”

The expansion of Roy’s Kitchen will include an additional 2,500 square feet of seating and cooking space, added Ivan.

The ongoing Roy’s Kitchen project provides an example of the pride experienced by Prime BEEF Airmen in supporting the mission.

“We are helping the [Airmen] that are out doing the mission and flying for who knows how long,” said Timothy, currently deployed from Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana and a native of Springfield, Ill. “They will be able to come in here have a hot meal and more room than before. So it is nice to be supporting the mission here.”

For Airmen outside of the civil engineer career field, the work performed by Prime BEEF seems to duplicate that of the Red Horse and Civil Engineer Squadrons. However, there is a big difference between the three.

“CES takes care of daily operations,” said Ivan. “Maintenance is the key word. If something breaks, they fix it. They also provide preventive maintenance and engineering support, making sure everything keeps moving. Red Horse does larger scale projects.”

Prime BEEF does the smaller but more technically involved projects, added Ivan.

Without Prime BEEF, the base would be a much leaner place.

“You will have a lot of projects with nobody to execute them,” said Ivan. “There would be new requirements that would stand still or stay on the shelf with no one to build them.”

(Editor’s note: Due to safety and security reasons, last names and unit designators were removed.)