SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.— --
When the heating ventilation and air conditioning goes down, when the power goes out, or when there is snow that needs clearing on the road at Schriever who are you going to call? You are going to call the 50th Civil Engineering Squadron to be exact.
Capt. Tyronda Kelly, 50 CES operations flight commander, can tell you all about that.
“We play a lot of roles. Typically, a civil engineering squadron is broken down into six flights, and we have five. We don’t have an explosive ordnance disposal flight, so we rely on Peterson Air Force Base for their EOD capability,” Kelly said.
One of those five flights is the operations flight, is responsible for all sustainment, maintenance and repairs for the base. They also do some small construction, and deal with power, heating, cooling, steam, pretty much anything needed to survive as masters of space.
“Essentially our role is to keep the base operational, anything the mission would need to survive. To include back up power support and everything else, to keep the satellites and GPS in orbit and keep track of them,” Kelly said.
Some people may think the 50 CES deals with housing but that is not exactly the case. That job goes to the installation management flight. They track real property, so every building has a building number and is accounted for on a real property record, land management, base planning and the deal with CE funds. They also deal with a lot of environmental aspects from endangered species to cultural resources.
“If you lived in an area that was once a Native American reservation or something of that nature they would deal with that,” Kelly said. “We have a government liaison between CE and the contractor that owns and operates housing. Because it is privatized we don’t do anything with it.”
Any large-scale project you may see going on around Schriever belong to the engineering flight. Military construction, which is any project greater than $900,000, and any larger projects that the operations flight cannot handle due to cost or man hours, will go to the engineering flight to program and execute as part of a larger project. The engineering flight also deals with energy and conservation.
“Our energy manager over there basically keep us on track on how to save on water, recycling, electricity. That’s more money saved for our base.” said Kelly
Conservation of resources and energy have long been important to the Air Force. With all the budget cuts it has been even more important.
“With CE being a large holder of contracts and resources, usually we are the first ones that are looked at. When a wing commander has to cut money, they typically go to CE and see what contracts they can do without,” Kelly said.
The Readiness and Emergency Management flight is responsible for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense response, shelter in place and the emergency operations center. They produce contingency response plans, the installation emergency management plan and coordinates with the installation anti-terrorism office to put together the actions set for the FPCON checklist, They are responsible for training the leadership on Schriever on base-specific emergency management requirements and responsibilities. They also provides a lot of mutual aid support.
“If Peterson air force base needed CBRNE or emergency managers’ assistance they would dispatch for our guys to help out and the same goes for regional command post or the city of Colorado Springs,” Kelly said.
Which leads to the fire department, which provide emergency response on base, whether it be responding to a fire, responding to a medical emergency or assisting with a hazardous material response. Like the readiness and emergency response management flight they also provide mutual support.
“Ellicott is just down the road and they have a very small fire department. So, if there was ever a fire that was too large for their capability then they would reach out to us to provide support in the form of people and trucks, and it is the same thing if there were incidents due to winter roads off base,” Kelly said.
The squadron will see approximately over 1,000 work orders a month. They range from small taskings to projects consisting of about 2,400 man hours, and when you add in the coordination and planning of those projects it becomes more than 2,400.
“The men and women of the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron provide construction and maintenance to Schriever's infrastructure enabling the space operators to deliver global combat effects,” said Master Sgt. Austin Harris, 50 CES operations engineering superintendent.
Even though the 50 CES seems to crush all obstacles put before them it’s not always easy. Due to the unique mission of Schriever and the small footprint, sometimes things can change or become complex. There is more to their mission than what we see. There are usually about 400-500 people in a CE squadron. Here? Approximately 200.
“There are constant mission changes which bring new requirements to the table. CE always pulls through to deliver the best products to the customers,” said Harris.
Overall, the 50 CES are very passionate and proud about their contribution to the mission, and work very hard to maintain the base and keep it up and running.
“We understand that the base is our customers, and I would like to thank them for allowing us to do our job, so that they can do their job,” said Kelly.