JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
More than 130 Airmen from the 108th and 177th Civil Engineering Squadrons came together for a full week of training March 25-29, 2019 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
“In 2018, our training readiness requirements in (Air Force Instruction) 10-210 were completely updated,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Garcia, the 177th CES Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) manager. “We went from being fully ready to being all in the red, and this is happening to all civil engineering units across the Air Force.”
With the approval of leadership, Garcia and Master Sgt. Cody McNaughton, the 108th CES Prime BEEF manager, began planning a year in advance. With more than 130 Airmen to accommodate, the pair spent many hours coordinating via weekly phone calls and in-person meetings twice a month.
“We wanted to take the training from behind a computer screen to being interactive,” said McNaughton. “Bringing the 108th and 177th together just made sense so we could tackle this challenge together and build connections between the squadrons.”
“We split all the Airmen into four teams, and gave younger officers the chance to work on their leadership and public speaking skills,” said Garcia. “The teams did a round robin each day to get through all the required trainings in a week.”
With a wide range of experiences and expertise between the two squadrons, each team was put together to balance the various core competencies that make up CE. The week included training in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN), CPR, self-aid and buddy care, vehicle and equipment, combat skills, suicide prevention, team building and more.
Over the course of four days, each unit accomplished at least 40 percent of their annual training requirements.
“This week of training was the first of its kind to tackle so many training requirements since the regulation change,” said Garcia. “The Air Force is looking at this week of training as a model for other civil engineering units.”
“The week really could not have gone any better,” said Garcia and McNaughton. “It exceeded our expectations.”
On the last day, participants gathered for group photos, a commander’s call, and a morale day barbecue to celebrate the completed week of training.
“Guardsmen are extremely innovative,” said Chief Master Sgt. Litchroy Marquis, the 177th CES chief enlisted manager, to all the participants. “Our civilian experiences make us ‘uniquely’ guard and this is what makes us special. As Airmen, we have to do what we can to accomplish the mission and take care of our Airmen by being agile, flexible and resilient.”
“Everyone worked hard to put this event together,” said Senior Master Sgt. Amanda Marotta, the 108th CES chief enlisted manager. “But Tech. Sgt. Garcia and Master Sgt. McNaughton put in their all to make this week a success.”