Not Just Another Day in Paradise
By Mr. Timothy D. Sandland, 102nd Intelligence Wing
/ Published September 25, 2014
9/25/2014 -- To some it may sound like a vacation, and perhaps on some level it was, however the men and women of the 102nd Civil Engineering Squadron know one thing - hard work is hard work, regardless where it is.
Forty-three of the 102nd Civil Engineering Squadron's Prime Beef team recently travelled to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, to perform work for the host base and to hone their already sharp Prime Beef skills. Part of the team was supplemented by personnel from Finance, Medical Group, Force Support Flight and Logistics Readiness Squadron. Civil Engineering would not have been as successful without their help.
Originally, the team was slated to deploy to Moldova, but due to updated direction received from the Air National Guard Bureau, their destination was changed.
The locale may have been paradise, however at times implementation of the plan was not. The team faced many challenges - from the outset, tool deficiencies and rental-equipment failures presented unique opportunities to come up with creative techniques to get the mission done. Further increasing the pressure was the fact that their hosts at the local Civil Engineering Squadron were packing up their own Prime Beef team for deployment so were unable to assist.
Major Robert Toney, 102nd Civil Engineering Squadron Commander, said, "The first week was hamstrung by lot of problems, so that was really the difficulty of the whole job, but the guys were ready and they kept a good attitude. They did what they had to do to accomplish the mission."
Regardless of the challenges presented to them, the team persevered and got the job done. The team's primary task was disassembling and packaging up sunshades for the bases' assigned F-22s. Sunshades are large structures, typically open on all sides with a protective roof. Much like an oversized carport, they help keep the aircraft and personnel protected from the high heat and intense sunshine of the pacific region. The sunshades had to be painstakingly disassembled very carefully as they were meant to be reused by another organization at a later date. The team also moved a 1:5 scale F-22 static display in time for a dedication ceremony for a new F-22 aircraft maintenance facility. Teams worked late most nights, and as late at 10:00pm.
Electricians assigned to the team were able to upgrade lighting and install a new air conditioning system for a geographically separated Air Traffic Control unit - with the relatively warm temperatures of Hawaii the air conditioning upgrade was surely appreciated. These were not especially difficult tasks for these highly trained professionals but when combined with a short timeline and limited equipment, an accomplishment made even more significant. Everyone's efforts were praised by multiple commanders.
Major Toney went on to say, "You overcome adversity. You get dropped into the desert or the jungle and you might not have all the tools you are required, but you adapt and overcome - you still get the mission accomplished - they showed how the 102nd can accomplish tasks and basically kick [butt]."
While the work schedule was clearly saturated, team members were still afforded time to check out some of the local sights and experience Hawaiian culture. Being in such close proximity to Pearl Harbor, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and the U.S.S. Missouri Museum were popular destinations. The team was also invited to a traditional Hawaiian luau where one talented Prime Beef member showed his dancing prowess by winning a hula dancing completion.