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News > VTANG Civil Engineers to go in-theatre
VTANG Civil Engineers to go in-theatre

Posted 1/22/2013   Updated 1/22/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Victoria Greenia
158th Fighter Wing

1/22/2013 - SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The Civil Engineering Squadron at the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) is back in the deployment mindset. Soon they will be traveling to an air base in Afghanistan to maintain, repair, and construct the airfield and utilities associated with it.

Maj. Keith Hodsden, commander of the 158th Civil Engineer Squadron, will deploy and assume command over both VTANG personnel and airmen from nine other guard units. The 158th CES will be the lead unit.

"Much of our job will involve maintenance and repair of existing facilities. The largest construction projects will be designed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Our engineering officers will work directly with them to ensure designs meet Air Force standards and that we will be able to maintain those facilities when they are completed."

This will be Hodsden's first deployment to the CENTCOM area of
responsibility, and he said he was looking forward to the challenge of commanding a group of nearly 100 men and women who will be tasked with making the base livable for all military personnel. Civil engineers make sure the airfield is adequate for aircraft launch and recovery, but are also the people who make sure electricity, plumbing, heat, and shelters are available for the entire base.

Other than personal gear and individual weapons, the squadron will not be taking any VTANG equipment. However, Senior Master Sgt. Peter Noble, an engineering superintendent scheduled to go to Afghanistan, said the squadron's biggest asset isn't something that will be carried-on.

"Being in the National Guard means that we all have civilian jobs and outside skills that we can also draw on for support during missions," he said. "I have seen how our airmen often use knowledge acquired outside the military to get a job done."

Hodsden agreed and said that was part of their contingency engineering training; they understand how to innovate in a deployed location without the ideal equipment. "In an austere environment, our men and women have demonstrated the ability to produce exceptional solutions despite resource limitations."

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