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Andersen Airmen learn innovative airfield damage repair capability

Staff Sgt. Austin Winegardner directs Airmen operating heavy machinery to clear debris away from a simulated damaged area created during airfield damage repair training Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. Winegardner is a project leader with the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

Staff Sgt. Austin Winegardner directs Airmen operating heavy machinery to clear debris away from a simulated damaged area created during airfield damage repair training Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. Winegardner is a project leader with the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

Airmen using a walk-behind wheel saw cut through the concrete on the flightline during airfield damage repair training Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

Airmen using a walk-behind wheel saw cut through the concrete on the flightline during airfield damage repair training Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

36th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen mix water and a low-strength concrete together during airfield damage repair training exercise Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

36th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen mix water and a low-strength concrete together during airfield damage repair training exercise Jan. 23, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair capability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of the first units in the Air Force to receive training on a new airfield damage repair technique here Jan. 21 through Jan. 24.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., selected Andersen AFB as the test base for the Airfield Damage Repair Capability program, in part, because of its key location in the Pacific. The base also has a flightline large enough for the Airmen to practice the new process without impacting daily missions.

Under the new process, Airmen clear the debris from the surface of the flightline and then cut a square around the damaged area with specialized saw and the remaining concrete is removed. Then they fill the hole with a low-strength concrete, followed by a rapid-set concrete cap.

"This is a significant step in base recovery that provides (more) capability in addition to traditional rapid runway repair," said Lt. Col. Christopher Carter, 36th CES commander. "The civil engineer center taught our engineers critical skills that we can use (if) called upon to ensure the 36th Wing's mission is successful. We are excited to be a part of the training team and look forward to working with AFCEC as we help pave the way for the future of (airfield damage rapair)."

This process can be done quickly in combat situations so airfield operations can resume. The repair is also semi-permanent, so Airmen won't have to return later to perform further maintenance to the area. It is estimated that 3,000 aircraft of any size or weight can pass over the restored area without causing degradation to the runway.

The previous method for repairing the flightline, known as rapid runway repair, was introduced in the late 1950s and became more refined in the 1960s. The standard allowed engineers to repair three large craters formed from 750-pound bombs within four hours after damage was made.

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