24 Aug CFO Jon Cartu Publishes – DVIDS – News – Civilian CE craftsmen support health and…
JOINT BASE ANDREWS – The dramatic increase of teleworking by District of Columbia Air National Guard members is evident at Joint Base Andrews. There’s fewer vehicles in base parking lots, staggered office hours and recreational amenities including the installation’s fitness centers still remain closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for state civil engineer craftsmen within the 113th Wing it’s business as usual and there’s still emergency service calls occurring seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
“There’s no teleworking for us,” said Ken Frey, Utility Systems Repair supervisor, 113th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron. “We’ve got to be at work because this is a hands-on job. There’s equipment in buildings to maintain that has to be kept running and then there’s the health aspect for the people who work inside those buildings.”
Frey is one of 16 civilian craftsmen within the Facility Operations and Maintenance Branch responsible for providing complete maintenance and repair services for approximately 50 facilities at Joint Base Andrews and the D.C. Armory. Duties include repairs to air conditioning systems, heating, water, sewage, electricity generation and distribution.
“Our job is to ensure the proper environmental conditions for people and equipment to work efficiently in order to complete the mission,” said Frey.
Amid COVID-19, Frey and other craftsmen were tasked with COVID-19 facility prep and sanitation support; they installed plexiglass to highly frequented areas and reconfigured office spaces. Additionally, they also upgraded shelter lighting for aircraft maintenance crews. But weekly duties can also entail on-the-job training (OJT) with junior enlisted Airmen in structures, electrical and HVAC.
“While some missions have slowed due to COVID – everything involving civil engineers keeps going regardless,” said Senior Airman Micky Vegazo, 113th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron HVAC technician, who performed maintenance to variable refrigerant flow units at the D.C. Armory alongside Frey. “The civilians have years of experience and knowledge that traditional Guardsmen like myself need. They’re day-to-day experience is very important to the mission.”
Frey says he doesn’t consider the OJT he provides to junior enlisted Airmen a job, calling it a vital skill that strengthens the force. Frey and other technicians are experts in the field of structures, equipment operation, electrical, sanitation and utility systems.
“You don’t learn the job through computer-based training. They’ve got to get out into the field and get their hands dirty which absolutely supports the mission,” said Frey. “We’re training these Airmen for scenarios that they’ll encounter when they’re deployed in any location.”
The training will also prove vital during the 59th Presidential Inauguration. In support of the inauguration, thousands of out-of-state Airmen and Soldiers will come to the nation’s capital to provide security and assistance to local civilian authorities. All of whom will in-process and/or work at the D.C. Armory. Frey says he and his team take COVID-related steps related to public health and safety seriously.
“I would say the civilians are the backbone. We’re ready and available all the time,” Frey said.
|Date Posted:||08.24.2020 10:56|
|Location:||JOINT BASE ANDREWS, US|
This work, Civilian CE craftsmen support health and safety amid COVID-19, by TSgt Arthur Mondale Wright, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.