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Masters of snow

Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander

Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

One of the things we sometimes take for granted is teamwork. Being a member of the world’s greatest Air Force for the last 19 ½ years has imparted the requirement for, and necessity of teamwork on a daily basis. A team you will probably see working during the next few months is the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Snow Removal Team. This team relies heavily on teamwork and it’s evident in their operations.

This team is more than ready for the upcoming winter season having earned the 2015-2016 Air Force Balchen/Post Award for snow crews of airports in the Snow Belt.  Now, I know what everyone is thinking, “there’s no airport on Schriever.” To that I say yes, you are correct. But for the award presented to the best team in the Air Force with a snow mission, an airport was optional. Our team comprises 31 CE personnel. The backbone consists of seven Heavy Equipment Operators (DirtBoys), and 24 augmentees from seven other CE Air Force specialty careers.  Their weapon system entails 12 pieces of equipment: three dump trucks with plows, two sanders, one 5-cubic-yard loader, one backhoe, two bobcats, one Ford F-450 with plow, one magnesium chloride trailer and one Oshkosh H-series multi-tasking equipment with plow and snow blower. Yes, that is the full name of the vehicle, but we call just call it the “Multi”.

Schriever’s 5-year snowfall average is 35 inches of snow per year.  The base cleared a low of 20 inches to a high of 74 inches during that time period.  Regardless of our accumulation this year, the snow removal team members are highly trained, and ready to tackle whatever Mother Nature has in store for them.  They will operate two 12-hour shifts from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. during snow events.  There is no delayed reporting for the snow removal team and, like other Schriever teams, some shifts may get extended before off base conditions clear enough for the relief team to arrive. The bunk beds in our Heavy Equipment Shop are already prepared in case such a situation arises.

As the snow season kicks off, the 50 CES would like to remind Team 5-0 to stay safe and to assist us with our operations by staying clear of the snow removal equipment and give operators the time and space needed to execute snow removal operations.  Please utilize the parking spaces or lots that have already been cleared. This has two benefits; 1) The team can clear the parking areas that have not been cleared and 2) it’s safer for base personnel to walk on clear pavement than through the snow and ice.

More information will be forthcoming from our Public Affairs team about a new phased parking lot clearing plan which we believe will provide everyone a greater level of service. It will require everyone working as a team though, and from what I’ve seen at Schriever, we should have no problem with that.  Team 5-0.