50, 911 CESs exemplify total force integration
By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 30, 2014
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It was approximately noon on a sunny July 25. At the south side of Schriever Air Force Base, a team of Airmen were busy completing a cement pad for the Outdoor Recreation's vehicle parking lot. Some Airmen moved and evened the cement; while a few provided finishing touches.
With the way they work, it may seem the team had been doing this for a long time. Though they all wear the same uniform, the Airmen were actually from two different squadrons, bases, states and status.
From July 13 to 25, the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron hosted the 911th Civil Engineer Squadron from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, as part of the Reserve unit's annual tour requirement. The Outdoor Rec pad was the last project for both squadrons.
"Our partnership was close to perfect," said Capt. Dave Stringer, 50 CES chief of operations. "It was probably one of the best total force integration events I have done in my 18 years of being in the Air Force. It was phenomenal."
Thirty-two reservists from eight different Air Force Specialty Codes, such as electricians, utilities, heavy equipment operators, operations and management integrated to 50 CES shops and worked alongside Schriever Airmen on various projects.
"We aligned with the shops and identified some projects that Team Schriever may need," said Capt. Robyn Froehlich, 911 CES commander. "The 50 CES leadership was ready for us when we got here. We already had materials and projects lined up for us."
During their two-week tour at Schriever, the 911 CES Airmen helped 50 CES complete various tasks. These include pump replacement for fire suppression, water pump service, road sign replacement, office renovations, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and electrical work orders and various trouble tickets.
"They were ready," said Tech. Sgt. John Muehlhausen, 50 CES infrastructure section chief. "They came in and hit the ground running and helped us out. They asked where the tools and equipment were and where to go. We distributed them to different sections and they started working."
Not only did the 911 CES complete all the assigned tasks, they also helped with an emergency when a storm recently hit Schriever.
"A lot of our heavy equipment guys helped with a perimeter fence repair and some of the cleanup with all the silt and sediment," Froehlich said. "It was actually nice that we were able to help out with something that was unplanned."
Additionally, since the majority of the reservists' civilian jobs complemented their AFSCs and skills, they brought in outside experience to the table for the 50 CES Airmen. "They were teaching our Airmen the tricks of the trade and vice versa," Stringer said. "It was phenomenal."
Froehlich said this was a great opportunity for the 911 CES personnel, especially the younger Airmen.
"We have some younger Airmen who have no active-duty experience so it was a great for them to see an active-duty installation, such as Schriever Air Force Base," she added. "We have been able to help with the 50th. It was a hand-in-hand training opportunity."
Having been at Schriever for the first time, Froehlich said it has been a great experience and she heard nothing but positive feedback on both sides.
"As reservists, we don't always get that hands-on mission because so much of it is contracted in some installations," she said. "Being able to come out, have work orders and projects that we can actually do, and real training instead of computer-based training or briefings is very valuable."
Though their two-week stay in Colorado was mostly about work and training, the 911 CES personnel also bonded with the 50 CES and got involved with various activities on and off base. Their first sergeant joined the Schriever first sergeants as well as performed gate guard duty, which is unusual even for new Schriever Airmen. They also joined the 50 CES Airmen in performing physical training as well as climbing the Manitou Incline at Manitou Springs, Colorado. They also took part in the Schriever Week celebration and joined the Week Rough and Tough, where they got to meet the wing commander.
"They were very involved," Stringer said. "They didn't just sit back. It's really good that they stepped out and went above and beyond with everything they did."
Muehlhausen said not only did the 911 CES help the 50 CES, but they also helped the entire installation.
"They did improvements for the base not just for our squadron," he said. "Team Schriever will benefit from what they did for years. They will have a lasting impact to the whole base. "In turn, Froehlich appreciated the 50 CES for everything the squadron provided as well as Team Schriever for a great experience.
"This is very important to us," she said. "The biggest piece is how we fit into the mission. Our sole purpose as reservists is to provide back up to the active duty in a deployed environment. For our Airmen to be able to integrate and form those relationships and understand what active-duty Airmen in their AFSCs are doing just helps us when we go deploy down range. This is just another good opportunity to experience that total force integration."