March Airmen repair base water drainage channel

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Montgomery, heavy equipment superintendent, 163rd Civil Engineer Squadron, California Air National Guard, March Air Reserve Base, operates an excavator to move large rocks on the Heacock Channel project, Sept. 11, 2014. Reservists and Guardsmen from March participated in a joint-construction project to repair the erosion damage and sediment accumulation to the Heacock Channel on the east side of base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan)

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Montgomery, heavy equipment superintendent, 163rd Civil Engineer Squadron, California Air National Guard, March Air Reserve Base, operates an excavator to move large rocks on the Heacock Channel project, Sept. 11, 2014. Reservists and Guardsmen from March participated in a joint-construction project to repair the erosion damage and sediment accumulation to the Heacock Channel on the east side of base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen from the 163rd Civil Engineer Squadron, California Air National Guard,  and the 452nd CES (Air Force Reserve), March Air Reserve Base, are scheduled to complete repairs to the Heacock Channel, a flood drainage collection point located on the east side of base, by the end of September.

The approximately $100,000 project began Sept. 2, after it was discovered that significant soil erosion over the years was inhibiting the flow of excess water from the base and also damaging the base's perimeter security fence, said Senior Master Sgt. Abraham Mendoza, superintendent, 452 CES.

"There's a lot of eroded embankment and five to eight feet of sediment that was collecting over the years," Mendoza added. "The security of the base was being compromised because the outer fence was falling apart."

By completing preventive maintenance on the channel, excess water on the north end of the base would also be alleviated, said Mendoza. Stagnant water should flow more easily after construction is complete, thus helping mitigate the possibility of mosquitos spreading the West Nile Virus.

The 950-foot construction project is slated to finish by the end of September but also serves as a joint training opportunity, since the labor used in the project is exclusively comprised of approximately 17 Reservists and Guardsman from March, said Mendoza.

Heavy equipment provided by the ANG, including loaders, dump trucks, excavators and more is operated by Reservists and Guardsmen to provide hands-on training experiences, said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Montgomery, heavy equipment superintendent, 163 CES.

"It's a great opportunity to get real-world experience," Montgomery said. "Compaction, building an embankment, and how to manage limitations of equipment is something they normally do not do."

"It's been very enjoyable," said Senior Airman Carolyn Suchy, structures, 452 CES. "It's been hard work but worth it. I've learned so much from these past two weeks and it's not even done yet. I'm looking forward to learning more."