An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Engineers keep Kandahar airfield in the fight

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Since arriving to support Operation Enduring Freedom, Air Force civil engineers here have been vital in keeping air operations on track.

From repairing a 200-square-foot crater on the runway -- in less than an hour -- to upgrading the once substandard airfield, the 451st Air Expeditionary Group civil engineer flight is helping take the fight to terrorists.

“A fully operational airfield is essential in allowing us to project combat air power and take the fight to those who would cause us harm,” said flight commander Capt. Jason Riebel, deployed from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. 

Captain Reibel, who is from Grand Rapids, Mich., said there isn’t an instruction manual for the many of the obstacles his Airmen face.

“My troops have met every challenge and tackled every task put before them,” the captain said. “They always find a way to make the mission happen despite having less people, equipment and supplies than would be expected.”

Master Sgt. Jason Baker, the flight superintendent, said the team knows how to deal with the challenges.

“I’m proud of all the hard work asked of these guys and all they’ve accomplished with what they’ve been given,” said Sergeant Baker, who is also from Pope. “In the Air Force, various specialties bring together their knowledge and expertise to accomplish the mission as a team.

“This has truly been the case during this deployment,” he said.

Sergeant Baker, who is of Connersville, Ind., related his experiences here to playing in the biggest professional football game of the season.

“This is what we all train for -– war,” he said. “Just as professional football players prepare for the Super Bowl, we put into motion all that we’ve trained so hard for.

“We learn to change plays during the game. We adapt and overcome. Ultimately we will win,” he said. “It may be a long game, but we will get our ring -- we’ll stomp out terrorism and won’t accept anything less.”

Tech. Sgt. Lineus Davis, an engineering assistant, and Airman 1st Class Jason Brooks, an electrical systems apprentice, also deployed from Pope. They said they’ve enjoyed their tour at Kandahar.

“It’s an honor to serve alongside the men and women of the greatest military in the world to help prevent any reoccurrences of what happened on Sept 11, 2001,” said Sergeant Davis, who is from Wilmington, N.C. “This deployment has offered me some very invaluable opportunities to meet and work alongside people who have had a profound impact on my career and life.”

“I’ve gotten a chance to learn about my contingency -- specific job -- and I really love it,” said Airman Brooks, of Harvey, Ill. “I feel like I can’t do enough to serve my country in the fight against terrorism. I am honored to be a part of the fight and blessed to help in anyway I can.”

Since Sept. 1, the engineers’ accomplishments have included:

--Repairing a 200-square-foot crater on the runway their first day on the job.

--Sealing 68,000-linear feet of cracks on the airfield, minimizing the risk of water infiltration and greatly extending the life of the airfield.

--Repairing 117 spalls (cracks or chips) totaling more than 1,000 square feet.

--Emergency runway repairs totaling 58,000 square feet, costing $270,000.

--Maintaining 100-percent night-flying operations and eradicating the worst 58,000-square feet of runway.

The airfield, which engineers failed on an assessment two years ago, is now 100-percent operational -- around the clock.