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622nd Airmen vital in EOD warehouse construction in Guam

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Engineers from the 622nd Civil Engineer Group, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, deployed for five months and played a key role in the design and construction management plans for a new explosive ordnance disposal warehouse at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The new $915,000 facility was built to store items such as Humvees, bomb suits, EOD robots and sensitive training equipment.

The warehouse will be utilized for Silver Flag training, a subject-matter expert exchange of civil engineer-related best practices. As a result of the new facility, EOD concepts will be reincorporated back into Silver Flag and other training opportunities further strengthening partnerships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The warehouse is part of the Pacific Regional Training Center, which is a facility used to host and train Airmen and international partners on construction techniques. The warehouse is located near the Silver Flag site, which will make it convenient for future training.

The project brought 250 Reservists together from the 556th RHS from Hurlburt Field, Florida, 555th RHS from Nellis AFB, Nevada, 560th RHS from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and the 567th RHS from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.

The teams built the warehouse using the tilt-up construction method. With this method, concrete elements such as walls, columns and structural supports are formed horizontally on a concrete slab. After the concrete has cured, the elements are "tilted" to the vertical position with a crane and braced into position until the roof, floor and walls are secured.

“One of the big issues on Guam is the hurricane force winds and possible earthquakes, which is why tilt-up construction is key out here,” said Maj. Karsten Lipiec, 556th RHS director of operations and project engineer. “The 554th RHS has a high proficiency in tilt-up construction and the 622nd CEG wanted us to come to Guam to train on this method.”

Since the units were away from their home station, the Airmen constructed the building using tools they were not accustomed to.

“This situation is similar to what some RHS units face in a deployed environment,” Lipiec said. “These challenges enabled the Airmen to gain the knowledge and necessary skill sets they are unable to receive at their home station, thus bolstering the experience.”

In addition to training on an alternate construction method, Airmen also interacted with other RHS units they may have never work with previously.

“Working with Airmen from units and backgrounds different from mine helped us achieve our goal while also teaching us valuable lessons,” said Senior Airman Alexandra Pinzone, 556th RHS heavy equipment operator. “You meet people from all over the world and come together to learn new things.”

After a few days of each rotation arriving on site, the project gradually became smoother. Communication improved with the help of site leads and members of the 554th RHS.

“The most rewarding aspect was seeing each rotation walk away and say it was outstanding training,” Lipiec said. “Even when we were in strife and trying to work through certain issues, the Airmen embraced the challenges and learned new skills, which goes to show what a valuable project it was for everybody.”

The next facility to be constructed will be the EOD training building, which will also be used for Silver Flag to further educate and strengthen bonds between Airmen and regional partners.