Project will be a complete overhaul of the undisclosed location's base water system Began in June 2009; scheduled for completion in August 2011 Funded by host nation government at a cost of U.S. $4.7 million U.S. military provides quality assurance, coordination, worker escorts 64th AEG is a geographically separated unit of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
Senior Airman Patrick Meyers, a third country national escort deployed to the 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron's civil engineer escort flight, observes a backfill operation in a trench dug to lay part of a new water line on a deployed installation in Southwest Asia, June 28. Airman Meyers is deployed from Holloman AFB, N.M., and is one of nearly two dozen military members working with host nation contractors to complete a multi-year, $4.7 million upgrade to the base's water system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mike Hammond)
A local contract worker picks up soil to fill a trench after laying a new water line in the ground at a deployed location in Southwest Asia, June 28, as Senior Airman Patrick Meyers looks on. Meyers, a third country national escort deployed to the 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron's civil engineer escort flight, is one of nearly two dozen military members working with host nation contractors to complete a multi-year, $4.7 million upgrade to the base's water system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mike Hammond)
by Master Sgt. Mike Hammond
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
7/6/2011 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- A more than two-year, multimillion dollar base improvement effort is nearing completion at a deployed location in Southwest Asia, bringing increased reliability and performance to the water system servicing hundreds of U.S. servicemembers and civilians on base.
The contracting project, coming in at an estimated cost of U.S. $4.7 million, has been funded and worked by the host nation's municipal water authority and supported by deployed members of the U.S. Air Force's 64th Air Expeditionary Group. Begun in June 2009, the upgrade is scheduled for completion in August.
"This is a host-nation sponsored upgrade of the entire water infrastructure here," said Capt. Dustin Creed, 64th Expeditionary Support Squadron, base civil engineer. The new work replaces an approximately 28-year old infrastructure that had deteriorated to the point of failure, Creed said.
"Over the last couple of years, we've had several water main breaks, and as a result we had to isolate or go without water for up to three days at a time."
Since its beginning, the project has resulted in more than 88,000 feet of new supply lines and 81 new fire hydrants, according to Tech. Sgt. Thomas Aguilar, the utilities quality assurance evaluator here.
"The project includes new fire hydrants, new water lines, supply lines, metering belts - everything right up to the water meters," Aguilar said.
While the host nation has funded the contract and therefore the supplies and workers to complete it, the members of the 64th have a significant role in getting the work completed.
Nearly two dozen members of the civil engineering escort flight are spread out over 12 work sites. The escorts provide third country national workers access to the base, monitor and observe their work, and ensure safety procedures are in place, said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Trumble, the 64th AEG safety representative and noncommissioned officer in charge of the water project.
Escort duty, typically performed by relatively junior Airmen, can prove a challenging job in the desert -- where temperatures regularly soar past 100 degrees. Even so, escorts like Senior Airman Patrick Meyers find value in the work.
"It may seem simple, just watching these guys work, but I think this is actually one of the most important jobs on the base, besides Security Forces, because we're kind of doing the same thing - working for the security of the base," Meyers said.
To ensure the overall effort continues as smoothly as possible, U.S. personnel from various areas on base and contractor representatives hold a weekly coordination meeting, said Master Sgt. Joseph Forro, 64 ESS civil engineer superintendent.
"We address items of concern, discuss the work progress and schedule, and just make sure everyone's on the same page," Forro said.
Thanks to the teamwork and coordination of many in the 64th AEG, and the funding of the local government, the huge overhaul project will soon wrap up and the water will flow uninterrupted to support the vital training mission of deployed forces in this Middle Eastern nation.