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Squadron of the Week: AFCEC

This week’s Squadron of the Week is Tyndall’s Air Force Civil Engineer Center. An airfield explosive ordnance removal vehicle tests its laser during a demonstration at Tyndall’s Silver Flag site, Dec 8.  The vehicle uses a laser to detonate unexploded ordnance on airfields. It is a safer way of disposing hostile bombs when compared to conventional methods.  Developing systems like this is part of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s mission. Other mission sets include facility investment planning, design and construction, operations support, real property management, readiness, energy support, environmental compliance and restoration, and audit assertions, acquisition and program management. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook/Released)

This week’s Squadron of the Week is Tyndall’s Air Force Civil Engineer Center. An airfield explosive ordnance removal vehicle tests its laser during a demonstration at Tyndall’s Silver Flag site, Dec 8. The vehicle uses a laser to detonate unexploded ordnance on airfields. It is a safer way of disposing hostile bombs when compared to conventional methods. Developing systems like this is part of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s mission. Other mission sets include facility investment planning, design and construction, operations support, real property management, readiness, energy support, environmental compliance and restoration, and audit assertions, acquisition and program management. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook/Released)

Master Sgt. Bruce King, AFCEC air field pavement evaluation superintendent, conducts maintenance on a heavy-weight deflectometer.  This device is used to measure the quality of the pavements on Air Force runways and ensures the safety of any aircraft that land on them.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Master Sgt. Bruce King, AFCEC air field pavement evaluation superintendent, conducts maintenance on a heavy-weight deflectometer. This device is used to measure the quality of the pavements on Air Force runways and ensures the safety of any aircraft that land on them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Michael Sirbaugh, an Air Force Civil Engineer Center power support system mechanic works on the seals of an aircraft duress system.  Sirbuagh is part of the Civil Engineer Maintenance and Inspection Repair Team, a group within AFCEC that ensures many of the emergency systems that keep airmen safe are up-to-date and running to complete the mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Michael Sirbaugh, an Air Force Civil Engineer Center power support system mechanic works on the seals of an aircraft duress system. Sirbuagh is part of the Civil Engineer Maintenance and Inspection Repair Team, a group within AFCEC that ensures many of the emergency systems that keep airmen safe are up-to-date and running to complete the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. -- When it comes to providing the tools, practices and professional support to maximize base and contingency operations, it's been said the Air Force Civil Engineer Center is second to none.

AFCEC is highlighted this week because of its critical mission of maintaining the infrastructure and standards of Air Force bases worldwide. They also maintain a multi-billion contract that provides civil engineer support during contingencies.

"We maintain both the natural and built infrastructure throughout the Air Force," said Lt. Col. David Novy, AFCEC deputy director of operations. "We ensure that the standards and equipment used to keep our airmen safe are up-to-date and ready to complete the mission."  

AFCEC is made up of multiple directives that manage initiatives such as energy management, readiness and operation standards for the different civil engineering career fields throughout the Air Force.

The energy management directive features programs such as energy analysis and the Energy Savings Performance Contract that help ensure that the Air Force is current on any environmental congressional mandates.

"We manage contracts with companies that maintain energy conservation mandates for the Air Force," said Les Martin, AFCEC energy conservation program manager. "We ensure that the companies we have contracts with are cutting consumption and create greater access to renewable resources. We also make sure the Air Force sees the benefits and returns and create the standard to which these companies must adhere."

Another department within AFCEC is the Civil Engineer Maintenance Inspection and Repair Team (CEMIRT); they are the group that is in charge of maintaining, repairing and refurbishing critical systems such as emergency generators and the aircraft duress system. 

"The aircraft duress system is critical in the safety of any jet that is landing at high speeds," said Michael Sirbaugh, AFCEC power support systems mechanic. "It catches the jet and slows its speeds within a safe distance and ensures that the pilot will not lose control. We have to perform an overhaul every 10 years to make sure the system is at its best."

There is also the Airfield Pavement Evaluation (APE) department whose mission is to measure and maintain the quality of Air Force runways. They extract soil and pavement samples to measure the effects of age and erosion.

"Our Heavy Weight Deflectometer (HWD) is  used to measure pavement deflection; it drops a simulated weight package of 55,000 pounds simulating the impact of an aircraft on the pavement," said Master Sgt. Bruce King, superintendent of the APE department. "There are 7 seismic detectors mounted under the machine that lower to the ground and measure the pavements deflection as the weight is dropped. The magnitude of the pavement deflection will give us an indication of the underlying soil strength. We use this information to ensure our airfield pavements are capable sustaining aircraft loads during operations. This information is used to assist Airfield Managers and Base Civil Engineers in the management of their pavement."   

Another critical mission of AFCEC is writing the standards and operation instructions for most of the civil engineering career fields within the Air Force.

"We actually establish the criteria for the materials, manpower, and equipment needed whenever a civil engineering mission is sent down range," said Master Sgt. Christopher Tilstra, force development manager at AFCEC. "We set everything from what type of tools they need to how many airmen it is recommended to take to get the mission done."

The staff of AFCEC is comprised of technical and professional experts in a variety of areas including engineering, emergency management, training, pavement analysis, fire protection, explosive ordnance disposal, aircraft arresting systems, computer automation and energy management. These functions are part of what keep the Air Force's infrastructure intact and without them we wouldn't be able to deploy with the same accuracy and efficiency to train and project unrivaled air combat power.