AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron play a major role in the upkeep of living and operating conditions at Al Udeid. Since 2015, one initiative that has kept Airmen with the squadron working hard is the replacement of 50 old “cadillacs,” outdoor restroom and shower facilities that span the installation. Tech. Sgt. Dominique Knowles, project manager with the 379th ECES Water and Fuels Section, is currently the Airman heading the replacement plan.
Knowles, a reservist from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, has been the lead for the “Caddy Land” project while deployed at Al Udeid AB. As a water and fuels technician, Knowles was tasked to manage the replacement portion of the 379th ECES cadillac trailer plan, one part of the continued improvement of facilities at Al Udeid AB.
Master Sgt. Alan Vong, section chief with the 379th ECES Water and Fuels Section, explained that when Knowles arrived at Al Udeid, the 379th ECES was dealing with one of the largest quality of life upgrades in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, and they needed a sharp NCO to lead the charge.
“Thirty caddies in 30 weeks,” Knowles was told. “My priority is the replacement of old latrine caddies, and with the help of my right hand man Chirinos, I have high hopes as to the progress we will make.”
Knowles explained that Staff Sgt. Alex Chirinos, also a water and fuels technician with the 379th ECES, helped him get his footing when he arrived here and has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to their water and fuels field. Chirinos is just one of the many personnel Knowles coordinates with on a daily basis though.
In the course of replacing a cadillac, first a call is made to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning shop to remove old air-conditioning units. Knowles then contacts the electrical shop to disconnect all electrical wires, and the water and fuels section to coordinate disconnecting water and waste lines. Service contractors on base are also informed to fill water tanks, empty sewage tanks and replace cleaning supplies. The shop with the biggest part in the replacement process are the “Dirt Boyz,” construction Airmen with the 379th ECES. The Dirt Boyz transport the old and new cadillac latrines, perform ground preparation, place the new caddies and demolish the old ones.
“Some of these projects are simple, while some require a lot of coordination,” said Knowles. “One of the toughest jobs so far was the caddy we replaced at the passenger terminal, because of all the foot traffic and clearances that had to be obtained from airfield management.”
Since November 2015, Airmen with the 379th ECES have replaced 33 cadillacs of the 50 originally selected to be replaced; eight of those were accomplished by Knowles in his first two months here.
“The disconnect, demo, replacement and reconnection of a caddy takes approximately a week, and with the few months I have remaining I plan on finishing what I started during my stay at Al Udeid,” said Knowles.
There are so many facets to the 379th ECES that one person cannot manage everything, which is why Airmen like Knowles are assigned as lead coordinators for large projects explained Tech. Sgt. Ryan McBee, day shift NCO in charge with the 379th ECES Water and Fuels Section.
“With Knowles at the helm of this project, I have complete confidence the mission will be executed successfully, enabling the shop to execute their other duties and ultimately ensuring we continue to keep water flowing, sewage draining and caddies functioning 24/7, 365 days a year,” said McBee.
Vong added that Knowles was hand selected for this duty and has worked tirelessly from the start.
“Tech. Sgt. Knowles was a blessing in disguise when he arrived to us in January,” said Vong. “He has worked relentlessly to plan, coordinate and execute caddy installs with a high level of quality and efficiency that is second to none. He is with without a doubt, one of the most talented NCOs I have had the pleasure of working with.”