By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — In a ceremony steep with tradition, the 721st Civil Engineer Squadron was activated July 17 at Mountain Man Park on Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.
The 721st CES was deactivated Feb. 1, 2004, after a determination by Air Force leaders to outsource some civil engineer activities to a private contractor. In April 2011, a presidential directive, Resource Management Decision 802, provided for the squadron in-sourcing efforts. The ceremony represents the unit’s return to a squadron status.
Col. Joseph Turk, 721st Mission Support Group commander, said when CMAFS became operational in 1966 it was the jewel of the nation’s defense capability and it remains the premier underground command and control facility today.
The facility was built on five acres under 2,000 feet of granite with its own water supply, power plant, and heating and cooling system to ensure reliability. “The (people) of the civil engineer squadron make sure that happens,” Turk said. “We have learned that today more so than the past, we need the reliability, survivability and the endurability the complex provides.”
The new guidon for the 721st was presented during the ceremony. The squadron’s colors are a memorial of its history and a symbol of its spirit. The streamers represent the performance and proud traditions of the squadron. Retired Lt. Col. Todd Wynn, the last active duty commander of the squadron, unfurled the colors from its encasement.
During the ceremony, Turk appointed leadership of the squadron to Dino Bonaldo II.
Bonaldo first arrived at CMAFS in 2002 as the environmental compliance director. He later moved up to be the director of operations under Wynn’s command. Finally, he came to be the director of the 721st Civil Engineer Division in 2010.
Bonaldo’s appointment as the civilian squadron commander equivalent is a unique feature in the 21st Space Wing, as the 721st CES is 100 percent civilian manned.
The 721st CES is composed of 117 government civilian employees. Bonaldo will lead the squadron that will operate, maintain, repair and engineer the infrastructure and property, ensure protection and ensure preparedness for CMAFS.
Upon assuming leadership of the squadron, Bonaldo said, “We’re going to do base support and we’re going to do it better than the others. There are challenges ahead and we will be successful.”