142nd Civil Engineers get valuable training in Hawaii

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steph Sawyer
  • 142nd Wing / Public Affairs

The 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron's fire fighters and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians recently completed two weeks of annual training at various locations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii this May.

Many of our civil engineers came to the island to build cabins for the Girl Scouts of Hawaii at Camp Paumalu in Hale'iwa as part of an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission. The IRT program enables the military to work with eligible civilian agencies to obtain valuable training and work experience while simultaneously providing a service for a community.

Other civil engineers sought training and collaboration opportunities in various locations throughout the island. At Hickam Air Force Base, power production technicians serviced various pieces of equipment in addition to the duties performed for the IRT.

EOD technicians from the 142nd worked alongside their active duty counterparts at Hickam as well as the Asia Pacific Counter-IED Fusion Center (APCFC), a military organization that provides training programs and information regarding counter-IED measures in the Pacific theater.

In the first week of training, evaluators developed training scenarios and constructed devices. The second week saw the arrival of the main body of EOD technicians. These individuals carried out the various scenarios devised in the first week.

EOD director, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sadler said this experience has been instrumental in providing a realistic training scenario for EOD technicians. For Portland especially, this training is valuable because it takes members outside of what they're used to which impacts how their tasks are ultimately accomplished.

"Even things like just the environment out here- it's a different environment than what we're used to training in. The vegetation is very different and it's little things like that that create challenges when you're detecting with mine sweepers, when you're doing ground-penetrating radar," said Sadler.

In addition to acclimating to a new environment, EOD worked with different devices in their training scenarios. Working with the APCFC gives EOD technicians the opportunity to focus on the Pacific theater, gaining knowledge and experience on some of the differences in devices and the challenges associated with those differences.

The final aspect of this particular mission was the opportunity to work with the EOD active duty component. Co-training is unique and highly advantageous for military members in any branch or career field. It's a chance for members to share perspectives and experience in order to enhance mission readiness and effectiveness as well as build and develop professional working relationships.

"Providing the realistic training environment and simultaneously being able to work with some of our partners out here and just being able to capitalize on some of their expertise and knowledge of this theater has been a really great opportunity to broaden our horizons a little bit," said Sadler.

In another location, our fire fighters took advantage of a training opportunity with the Marine Corps fire fighters at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) from May 9-22. During this two-week period, both Airmen and Marines trained on aircraft familiarization, gained hands-on experience, and implemented egress procedures.

One of the benefits of Portland fire fighters training at MCBH is accessibility to resources. This factor directly impacts the type and the quality of training that can be accomplished, said 142nd Wing fire chief, Master Sgt. Alan Duval.

"They have the space, they have the air frames, they have a live aircraft trainer for live burns that we don't have so this is kind of instrumental training that we don't get all the time," said Duval.

In addition to space and equipment, co-training gives both groups a unique opportunity to share and learn from each other's experiences and backgrounds.

Throughout training, Airmen and Marines were put on the line together in order to get the most from this training. The Marine Corps and Air Force may differ in their tactics, techniques, and procedures, but the end goal of saving lives and protecting property is the same for both branches.

Between all of their training and real-world missions in Hawaii, the 142nd CES made a sizable impact on mission capability and efficiency in the month of May.