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Can you CE how important civil engineers are?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rito Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Runways in deployed locations take on a lot of wear and tear, with various multi-ton aircraft transiting several times per day year round. For pilots to safely take off and land day after day, it is imperative runway markings, conditions and all precautionary systems are maintained at all times.

In order to maintain all of these different aspects of the airfield, it takes a team of Airmen who are dedicated to the mission and their fellow service members.

“We get to build the facilities and infrastructure that support every single mission in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Barry Veen, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “Here at Bagram, we get to take the fight to the enemy in real time.”

The CE team comprises many different career fields broken down into two branches here: the construction crew and the readiness emergency services team.

CE Airmen’s primary mission is to sustain and repair the airfield as required. This includes performing runway rubber removal, painting airfield markings and maintaining the aircraft arresting system.

“If we don’t do our job correctly it makes it more challenging to launch and recover aircraft,” Veen said. “Every Airman we have here is a professional, and they know they are directly supporting kinetic effects every day.”

Although CE Airmen are mainly responsible for maintaining the airfield, they also take the care of other compounds on base.

“Think about your house and all the maintenance you need to do, and if you don’t keep up with it then your air conditioner breaks or your heater breaks and your plumbing is overflowing,” said Senior Master Sgt. Sarah Bredthauer, 455th ECES superintendent. “That’s what our job is, because there’s a litany of things that we have to do just on the maintenance side to keep things running.”

Bredthauer added the team is constantly planning construction to make the base a better place for everyone who lives there.

They are currently working on planning new construction as well as putting up more barriers on the base.

The team works day in and day out to improve the base for every Airman so they can perform the mission.

“This is the highest privilege one can have,” Veen said. “There is no better job in the Air Force than to be a civil engineer officer and command Airmen in a combat zone.”