By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron structures flight keeps the base operational by performing repairs and maintenance across the installation. The unit is comprised of three Airmen and three civilians who are responsible for maintaining and repairing Schriever’s structures.
“We’re jacks-of-all trades,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Perez, 50th CES structures noncommissioned officer in charge. “We do welding, masonry, roofing, carpentry, finish-work and lock-smithing. It’s more than just turning a wrench.”
The unit breaks down its maintenance into two categories: preventative maintenance and urgent calls.
“We perform preventative maintenance to prevent equipment or structures from breaking which could cost the Air Force millions of dollars,” Perez said. “An urgent call is when a customer calls and says something is broken and needs to be fixed. This primarily consists of structures that need to be repaired and could be a detriment to our mission here.”
The safety of Airmen and their mission is affected by the unit’s ability to successfully perform their duties. They repair mod-doors, locks and safes that protect mission assets. Additionally, if there is a safety concern involving the structures, the unit will respond within 24 hours to ensure Airmen are safe.
However, the structures flight isn’t the only unit that responds. The squadron has heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical units that also play an important role in keeping Schriever functional.
“We’re customer service based and we’re here to provide assistance to the base population for whatever we can help with, whether that be utilities, electrical, structural or HVAC,” Perez said. “Our squadron is ready for whatever may happen, whenever it happens.”
The unit prioritizes its repairs based on impact to mission success and the safety of Airmen. Repairs are considered in five levels of priority.
“If there is an emergency, we have 24 hours to find a solution,” said Staff Sgt. Nicole Steller, 50th CES requirements and optimization operations manager. “Our priorities are: 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A and 4B. 3A is the highest priority and requires a quick turn, whereas 4B is our lowest level of priority and maybe doesn’t need to be addressed as quickly. This is typically something that’s aesthetic or for leisure purposes. But this doesn’t mean we don’t take everything seriously, it just helps us sort what needs to be done and when.”
The unit has Airmen ready 24/7, 365 to respond to emergencies that may occur on base. However, it’s important to note the difference between an emergency and an inconvenience.
“I like to constitute emergencies as life, limb or mission,” Perez said. “If the mission is going to fail or someone is going to get hurt, that’s an emergency. If something doesn’t require immediate assistance, please contact your facility manager so they can submit a work task. Don’t cry wolf when there isn’t a wolf.”
If a repair is needed and the unit is unable to respond immediately, Airmen should not try to perform repairs themselves, but instead contact the CES. This is to prevent injury and to ensure the equipment is properly repaired.
The squadron’s Airmen are trained to handle equipment such as grinders and welders and are required to wear the proper safety equipment to avoid injury.
“We train weekly to ensure we’re keeping our Airmen prepared for any situation they may encounter,” Perez said. “Trainings have included individual combat equipment training, to convoy operations, troop movements, defensive fighting positions and vehicular training because we need to be ready to go anywhere, at any time to support any mission.”
To contact the 50th CES for an emergency repair, call 567-2300.