Catching up with the BEEF!
By Maj. Kimberly Holman, 146AW
/ Published August 11, 2012
COLD LAKE, Alberta -- Hawaii, Cuba, Canada, Guam--sounds like a dream vacation, but it's just another day on the job for the 146th Airlift Wing Civil Engineering Squadron (CES), and they are on the move... again.
But don't think for a minute that these engineers are on vacation. They are working arduously as the Prime BEEF team (Base Emergency Engineering Force). The Air Force established the Prime BEEF program in 1964, building teams of engineers to respond to worldwide contingencies, providing runways, water supply, electricity, housing, and other facilities necessary to support deployments.
Taking off most recently to the "great white north" on July 28, 2012, about 34 CES members arrived in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada to perform their annual training as Prime BEEF.
"We are here in Canada participating in an annual engineer exchange program between the Canadian Air Force and the Air National Guard. This year we are partnering with the Maryland Air National Guard's 175th CES to remodel some day-care facilities on Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, and to construct a new concrete pad they will use to store their mobility equipment," said Maj. Patrick Shanahan, 146CES commander. "The projects provide a nice, finished product for the Canadians, and it provides our Guardsmen an opportunity to hone their engineering skills."
Last December the 146th CES left for six months to support operations at Joint Task Force Guantanamo on the southeast corner of Cuba, and once again provided expertise and skills that were much needed. Their largest project was accomplished at a location in Guantanamo called Camp Justice, where upcoming military commissions proceedings are to be held.
"Camp Justice is a tent city basically, that provides living arrangements and billeting for all who come here for the military commissions process," said Shanahan. "Media, government and DOD employees, they all stay at Camp Justice while they are here." The camp provides air-conditioned buildings with beds, showers, latrines as well as Morale Welfare and Recreation facilities, he said.
The BEEF team was tasked with constructing two facility buildings for the public affairs office at camp justice which included a complete media operations center. This area provided a place for media to conduct their business in a remote location with all necessary computer and communications amenities while observing on monitors the ongoing military commissions and hearings.
"The mission at JTF Guantanamo is a unique on that we may never see again as engineers," said Shanahan. "It's definitely been a positive experience for everybody."