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NEWS | Oct. 10, 2023

Oregon Air Guard Civil Engineers Recapitalize Old Facility

By Maj. Joe Young 173rd Civil Engineer Commander

NORTH BEND, Ore. - The 173rd Civil Engineer Flight mission-ready Airmen executed a unit-led field training exercise to restore a former Department of Defense facility for future mission readiness.

Fourteen Oregon Air National Guard engineers deployed to a remote tower site on the Oregon coast built and used by the U.S. Air Force Air Defense Command in the 1950s. 

Like many ADC sites across the western United States, this one was decommissioned, mothballed and left for nature to reclaim. Though not actively used by the DOD, the site remained under Air Force control and made for an ideal location for proposed future development.

Site surveys determined the remaining facility was in good condition. The site needed some rehabilitation, such as removing nearly 40 years of brush and vegetation covering the once-booming outpost.

This field training exercise aimed to accomplish two objectives: practice Bare-Base Expeditionary contingency skills under an Agile Combat Employment construct and perform maintenance on a historic Air Force property and associated facility the wing may use.

While Team Kingsley CE has only five specific career fields to draw from, most Airmen in the flight are prior service members and engineering professionals in their community. This on-site team represented over 16 Air Force skill sets and many civilian career disciplines, underscoring the meaning of multicapable Airman.

Participants trained on the rapid deployment, operation, and safety of chainsaws, brush trimmers, machetes and light-duty construction equipment. In the first 48 hours, the team cleared 65,000 square feet of overgrown brush — about the size of a college football field. 

Indoors, the team removed failing partition walls, repaired exterior doors, and restored electricity to portions of the facility with circuitry dating to the mid-’60s. In addition to fieldwork, the team documented and uploaded facility condition reports and inspections to USAF systems using a satellite internet terminal.

Although this was just one small unit performing at a remote location on the West Coast, the team demonstrated what Air Force civil engineers do for resilient forward basing around the globe daily. 



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