U.S. civilian supplies CE operations, improves quality of life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe
  • 65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
It's not a glamorous job, but Dan Callens' job is essential to keeping his base in the fight.

Callens is a 65th Civil Engineer Squadron Material Control supply technician, and is in charge of ensuring all materials are procured so that civil engineers can sustain Lajes Field's mission.

Overall, Callens is in charge of ordering supplies for about 800 base facilities, as well as about 10,000 items valued at $1.3 million.

A retired Air Force master sergeant with 24 years of supply experience, Callens once served in the same position at Lajes as a technical sergeant from 2005 to 2008. Now a civil servant, Callens understands and takes much pride in his mission essential job.

"I enjoy the satisfaction of getting materials to help the wing and helping the base continue to operate on a normal basis," he said. "Being on a small island, sometimes it's hard to get certain items, so for us to be able to work with vendors in the states, as well as vendors locally to obtain those items, and to ensure that the craftsmen of all the CE shops are able to do their jobs is very rewarding and satisfying."

A backbone of civil engineer operations according to unit leadership, Callens is responsible for procuring all supplies to meet the squadron's operational needs, be it lumber, air conditioners, sheet metal, concrete, nails or screws; essentially anything that keeps the base functioning from a civil engineer standpoint.

"We support the (civil engineer squadron) with whatever they need to accomplish the job or fix whatever is broken," said Callens. "We make sure things get ordered. The CE planners create a work order, then we do the research and make orders from our prime vendor or from the local economy."

Callens assumed his current position in September 2012. He was charged with accomplishing the material control mission after the staff sergeant previously in charge of the program deployed.

"Dan has stepped up and taken over the 65th CES warehousing operations," said Stephen Day, 65th CES deputy commander. "This is extremely important for us. The warehousing function manages all the parts, or bench stock, essential to maintaining the facilities and infrastructure here. Considering the challenges we have had with funding this year, he has been real silent hero in the CES."

Now, Callens is currently training a new assistant, Staff Sgt. Adam Culver. Culver, who's new to the supply technician duties, is actually a heat, ventilation and air conditioning craftsman.

"If Dan didn't do what he does, the base would fall apart because there would be no materials, no tools and stuff would break," said Culver. "He's very important to us being able to get things done, fixed and upgraded."

To accomplish his mission, Callens works closely with the local national workforce in his unit.

"Most of the local nationals here have been doing this job for roughly 29 years," he said of the six Portuguese civilians in his unit. "Americans rotate in and out, but they stay here. They're a very important part of our operation, especially for the purpose of job continuity."

Despite the indiscreet, behind-the-scenes nature of Callens' job, his impact is felt across the base, Culver said.

"If materials weren't scheduled to come in on time, then the jobs wouldn't get done and things wouldn't be fixed," Culver said. "Quality of life here is upgraded because of what he does. It's pretty important."