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CE to travel to Hawaii for DFT

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Ramirez
  • 146AW

Nearly 50 members of the 146th AW Civil Engineering Squadron are scheduled to leave for Hawaii June 1, 2010 as part of their annual deployment for training. The training, set to last until June 18, 2010, will send the engineers to the Pacific islands to work with the Navy Seals and Coast Guard on building foundations, digging trenches, re-modeling facilities as well as volunteering with the organization "Malama na Honu", an local group dedicated to the preservation of the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.
The members will be divided into two teams and from there, each team will work on a variety of tasks that will give our civil engineers in-field training and let them utilize skills learned in the classroom on real projects. One team will work at the Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One's facility on the Pearl City Peninsula digging over 160 electrical trenches for commercial power, pouring more than 30 yards of concrete slabs and building an indoor rifle qualification range.
The second team will be stationed at the United States Coast Guard Air Station, Barbers Point, re-modeling a multi-purpose facility which will include replacing windows and doors, setting up dry wall, prepping walls for paint, and installing a new sprinkler and draining system near the building to prevent further water damage.
Staff Sgt. Xavier Martinez-Soto, a heavy equipment operator, is only one of many CE members working on the projects at Pearl City. With lots of experience in construction from both his military and civilian careers, Martinez-Soto said he is eager to teach the new airmen what he knows about building and laying out concrete.
"I'm really excited to teach some of our airmen who aren't exposed to this type of training," he said. "I want them to focus on safe operations and working in different environments."
Although the "to-do list" is very long for each team, all members are also taking time out of their trip to give back to the local community. Organized by Master Sgt. Don Simmons, CE members will also be spending a morning at Laniakea Beach, located on the North Shore of Oahu, volunteering their time to pick up trash and clean the beach. This project, in partnership with Malama na Honu which is Hawaiian for "Protect the Turtles," will help the threatened species that frequent that area.
Master Sgt. Simmons, who plans on continuing to volunteer with this organization even after this trip, said he was amazed to find out that even though some of the other members had never been to Hawaii, they were still willing to take time out of their trip to volunteer.
"When I asked a few of my fellow airmen, they were on board with it," Simmons said. "We travel across the world. I felt that giving back to a community would be a worthwhile thing to do."
Sgt. Martinez- Soto is also excited to volunteer his time. Even though he has taken trips to Hawaii in the past with family, he has never volunteered on the island.

"I think it's a great opportunity. Everything that someone does really has an impact," he said.
This type of hands-on training occurs annually for every CE Squadron in the National Guard. Every year the location can vary depending on each base's individual need. Essentially, bases will put in work orders for any maintenance or building that they need completed to the National Guard led Innovative Readiness Training Task Force. After applications are processed, every CE Squadron is paired with a base whose needs they can best serve.
This will be the first year the 146th AW CE Squadron has visited Hawaii, however, they have traveled all over the United States and have also been deployed to England for their annual training.