Blog from Hawaii with the 146th CE Squadron
By Airman 1st Class Ashley Ramirez, 146AW
/ Published June 06, 2010
BARBERS POINT, Hawaii -- HAWAII BLOG DAY ONE-Saturday, June 5, 2010
Today is day two of the 146th Civil Engineering Squadron's long-awaited trip to Hawaii, the island of Oahu, and this is my first blog as a first-timer TDY ever on one of our own unit's trips. Yesterday was a very long day that started in the dark hours of the morning at Aerial Port, followed by many hours of flying on our C-130 across the Pacific, 48 of us side-by-side in the red webbed seats, all doing whatever we could to pass the time. Most people slept, some read a book, some watched a movie on their computer or phone. One guy was actually playing the guitar, but of course nobody could hear what he was playing. I'm hoping we'll have an opportunity to hear him play later during the trip, though. Finally we landed about 8 hours later, and we all headed to our billeting to get checked in. It was great to breathe in the sweet, humid ocean air even though on the flight line it was still mixed in with the smell of jet fuel and hot rubber from the airplane's tires. The hotel accommodations are more than comfortable. We are all one to a room, which is more than anyone can ask for. My room, located on the 6th floor, is in a perfect position for a cool summer breeze to blow through the walls of windows that line our hotel walls. there is no A/ C unit in my suite, which surprised me at first. anyone from the central valley, like myself, would know the blessings a good A/C can bring! But as I laid in bed that first night, with all the windows open and my fan filling the room with that cool, sweet smelling island breeze... I didn't miss my old A/C unit one bit.
This morning we got up bright and early, and at 0730 everyone formed up in front of the hotel to get our assignments and be on our way. The first site we visited was located at USCG Barber's Point. There is a lot to do and I am amazed that everyone seems to be so confident that it will all get accomplished in two weeks.
Everywhere I see Airmen... measuring, assessing damage, drawing up
plans and laying out tools. It looks a bit chaotic but everyone seems to know what the plan is, what their mission is. The Coast Guard seems to be really excited for us to be here. The gym where they are installing two HVAC units hold workout equipment that is slowly rusting and rotting away due to the salty ocean air. If this unit wasn't installed the Coast Guard would soon have to replace almost 20 pieces of equipment. I can see their appreciation. The multi-purpose room is also showing signs of deterioration. The walls have been eaten by everything from termites to the ocean air. It is obvious when the all-clear was given in the building, letting everyone know the electricity has been turned off so demolition can begin. The hard hats came on, axes and hammers came out and with a sudden crash... construction began. Windows were pushed out of their frames and doors were kicked to the ground. Like a well-oiled machine, one Airmen revved up the tractor while another slammed his hammer through the rotting wall panels that used to line the building. We are five minutes in and half of the building is now piled into a large yellow garbage dumpster in the middle of the parking lot. Maybe I underestimated these guys, maybe their "to-do" list isn't as long as I thought?