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Blog from Hawaii with the 146th CE Squadron, day 2

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Ramirez
  • 146AW
HAWAII BLOG DAY TWO--Sunday, June 6, 2010. It is day two of construction for the members of the 146th AW CE squadron at Pearl City. Today I observed at another work site where the Airmen were given the task of pouring over 30 cubic yards of concrete as the foundation for an indoor rifle range, among other things. Although it is located near the harbor and is close to water, this site has miserable work conditions compared to the site where I was yesterday with the Airmen remodeling on the Coast Guard base. Number one, there is no shade. I'll repeat that, there is no shade. With the ocean breeze the site is tolerable...barely. This is not the Hawaii I think most of us had pictured. Hot sun, humid wet air, spending eight hours standing on black asphalt. Who would want to do that? I am miserable just watching them. But as we all know, there is a job to do and these Airmen are more then willing to try their best. Not only are these guys working in less than desirable conditions but they seem to be making the best out of things. When we showed up today, we saw that they made a little bit of shade for themselves. Two blue tarps hang between the shipping containers that scatter the parking lot. It is like their own personal fort of shade and refuge from the hot Hawaiian sun. Another problem I seem to be having at this site is just understanding what the heck is going on. I mean, tearing down walls and digging ditches I get. Surveying land and rebar reinforcements I do not. I carefully walk around the job site, looking, watching, hoping that I will catch on. Nothing. In my efforts to understand all that is going on around me I ask, "Excuse me, what is the name of that machine he is using there to cut through the asphalt?" "You mean the asphalt cutter?" Ok, really? Good job, self, I say in my head. Just keep walking. On the other side of the parking lot, there are Airmen attaching metal rods together between two longer pieces. Let's try again, "Excuse me, what is that ladder thing you are making?" A Staff Sgt. who clearly knows what he is doing and has been on deployments before looks up at me with a huge grin. He chuckles out loud, not hiding the comedy that obviously was my question. "These are rebar reinforcements, they will go inside the concrete slab to make it stronger. It's not a ladder." Another laugh, then he looks down, going back to work. I tried. Even though I may not understand the green string on the ground that will outline the foundation for the concrete slab or know the names of machines, I am having a good time trying to learn. The Airmen here I think also enjoy my comic relief as they try to explain their job to me, all the while I'm thinking "just smile and nod."