163rd RW Civil Engineers Deploy to Silver Flag
By Maj. Brenda Hendricksen, 163d Reconnaissance Wing
/ Published August 17, 2007
MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. --
Approximately 40 Wing Civil Engineers deployed July 14-20 in support of Silver Flag, a war-task training exercise held at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
Air Force active-duty, National Guard and Reserve worked side by side during the five and one-half day training event/exercise to erect a city from scratch to include mortuary affairs, a fixed runway, water and waste system, power plant, temporary living area and command and control.
"The first four days consisted of classroom instruction. Day five the group was introduced to scenarios," said Troop Commander and Unit Control Center Officer-In Charge Capt. Heidi Gibson. "Bare base erection began under extreme time constraints."
Utilities Supervisor Master Sgt. John Nortz assisted with creating a usable water system for use during the exercise. "Through reverse osmosis we made swamp water into usable drinking water," said Master Sgt. Nortz.
Electrical Systems journeyman Staff Sgt. Joseph Gunnels assisted with the high voltage distribution center providing 120 and 208 volts of usable power to the tents, kitchen and to the emergency aircraft lighting system (EALS).
"The most difficult part for the electricians was the EALS which was very time consuming. Lights needed to be in working order for a 5,000 ft. runway," said Sgt. Gunnels. "This asset is rarely available for training at home station, so getting to use the equipment was very worthwhile."
Another aspect to the exercise was repairing a simulated bomb-damaged runway. This consisted of crater repair, laying fiberglass matting and setting up the mobile arresting system.
"The time constraint was the most challenging part," said Power Production Specialist Technical Sgt. Roger Smithwick.
The Wing has participated in Silver Flag, a mandatory every four year requirement, since its inception in 1992. A 68-person cadre from Detachment 1, 823rd Red Horse Squadron, runs the exercise and trains more than 5,600 people each year.
"The exercise was very valuable. I have been attending this exercise since its inception, but I learn something new every time I go," said Sgt. Nortz.