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52nd FW Dirt Boyz repair flightline, prepare for winter ops

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Ali Stewart
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Repairing the flightline is arguably one of the most mission-essential tasks for any Civil Engineer Squadron and Airfield Management career fields. On Sept. 5 and 10,  Airmen from the 52nd CES pavements and construction equipment shop, also known as the Dirt Boyz, worked through the weekend and after hours to repair damaged points on the flightline before the winter season begins.

Identifying repair needs for the flightline is one of Airfield Management’s most important tasks.

“There are always going to be defects to the airfield,” said Master Sgt. David Gutierrez, 52nd FW airfield manager. “Defects are something we keep an eye out for and watch how they progress over time.”

Depending on the location of the defect, and how bad it is, determines the urgency of the repair, said Gutierrez.

Last weekend, the Dirt Boyz were on a strict time crunch to repair the flightline before it reopened eight days later.

“This specific area caused concern because of its high use,” said Gutierrez. “With the upcoming snow season, water can get into the cracks and expand when frozen which makes the runway damage worse. We identified that it wouldn’t be wise to wait until after the snow season for repairs.”

The Dirt Boyz worked on the flightline repairs in the early morning of Sept. 5 in order to procure the concrete from a German company, which isn’t open on Sundays. This allowed the concrete to have a full seven days of cure time to be ready for the opening of the runway.

“They had to order the concrete from a German concrete plant, and the timeline they were working on was very tight,” said Gutierrez. “They had to be out there at 4 a.m. on a Saturday to pull up the existing concrete and prepare for the delivery, as well as pour the new concrete.”

In the end, the Dirt Boyz fixed two large cracks in the concrete which prevented any foreign object debris hazards from occurring due to further deterioration.

“This allowed the 52nd FW’s 6.5 thousand flying-hour program to continue uninterrupted,” said Tech. Sgt. David Rodgers, 52nd CES pavement and equipment supervisor. “We flexed our in-house capabilities to save time and money by not having to hire an outside contractor to complete the repair.”

The Dirt Boyz received praise for working through the weekend, especially during a long weekend for the Labor Day holiday.

“I would like to thank my Airmen for their hard work and dedication towards accomplishing the job on such a tight schedule,” said Rodgers. “I would also like to thank leadership for their support and backing in pushing for us to do this job.