176th Wing members tackle infrastructure work in Puerto Rico

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Holding a map to the air station, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Miller, the senior NCO of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, points out project locations to Lt. Col. Ed Soto, the squadron's commander. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Holding a map to the air station, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Miller, the senior NCO of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, points out project locations to Lt. Col. Ed Soto, the squadron's commander. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico --  Master Sgt. John Swearingen, superintendent of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron's Power Production Section, guides Staff Sgt. Kristina Dick as she tests circuits on a malfunctioning air conditioning unit here Feb. 9, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Master Sgt. John Swearingen, superintendent of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron's Power Production Section, guides Staff Sgt. Kristina Dick as she tests circuits on a malfunctioning air conditioning unit here Feb. 9, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Lt. Col. Ed Soto (standing), commander of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, outlines plans for the day at a morning meeting with his senior non-commissioned officers here Feb. 8, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Lt. Col. Ed Soto (standing), commander of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, outlines plans for the day at a morning meeting with his senior non-commissioned officers here Feb. 8, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico --  Members of the 176th Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron gather in a hangar here shortly after arriving Feb. 6, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Members of the 176th Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron gather in a hangar here shortly after arriving Feb. 6, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Tech. Sgt. David Bailey (right), a heavy equipment operator with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, scrapes sod from a children's playground while Master Sgt. Scott Peterson, superintendant of the squadron's Heavy Equipment Section, stands by with a small skid-steer loader Feb. 8, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Tech. Sgt. David Bailey (right), a heavy equipment operator with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, scrapes sod from a children's playground while Master Sgt. Scott Peterson, superintendant of the squadron's Heavy Equipment Section, stands by with a small skid-steer loader Feb. 8, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico --  Tech. Sgts. Rick Howard (left) and Todd Bowey bore a hole for a fencepost here Feb. 9, 2010. Bowey is a medic/firefighter with the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron; Howard is a heavy mobile equipment mechanic with the 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron. A group of 45 Civil Engineer Squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations (Howard was one of two 176 LRS members who deployed to provide mechanical support to the 176 CES deployers). The 176 CES undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Tech. Sgts. Rick Howard (left) and Todd Bowey bore a hole for a fencepost here Feb. 9, 2010. Bowey is a medic/firefighter with the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron; Howard is a heavy mobile equipment mechanic with the 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron. A group of 45 Civil Engineer Squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations (Howard was one of two 176 LRS members who deployed to provide mechanical support to the 176 CES deployers). The 176 CES undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Tech. Sergeant Tom Bradley superintendant of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron's Electrical Section, rides a hoist up to repair a set of lights atop a Coast Guard hangar here Feb. 9, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Tech. Sergeant Tom Bradley superintendant of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron's Electrical Section, rides a hoist up to repair a set of lights atop a Coast Guard hangar here Feb. 9, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. Alaska Air National Guard photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico --  Members of the 176th Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron pour concrete for a patio here Feb. 11, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Members of the 176th Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron pour concrete for a patio here Feb. 11, 2010. A group of 45 squadron members spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico --  Three members of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron push a wheelbarrow full of wet concrete to a job site here Feb. 11, 2010. They are (left to right) Master Sgt. Brian Lewis; Tech. Sgt. David Bailey, and Staff Sgt. Cody Grella. The three are among 45 squadron members who spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission --  called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Three members of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron push a wheelbarrow full of wet concrete to a job site here Feb. 11, 2010. They are (left to right) Master Sgt. Brian Lewis; Tech. Sgt. David Bailey, and Staff Sgt. Cody Grella. The three are among 45 squadron members who spent two weeks here in early February to train and sharpen their skills on a wide range of infrastructure projects, upgrades and renovations. The squadron undertakes such a mission -- called a Deployment for Training, or DFT -- every year or two. Recent DFTs have taken the squadron's men and women to Israel, Southern California, Hawaii, Ecuador, Okinawa, Minnesota and Texas. AKANG photo by 1st. Lt. John Callahan.

COAST GUARD AIR STATION BORINQUEN, Puerto Rico -- Leave it better than you found it. A group of Alaska Air National Guard members will be putting that maxim to practice here for the next two weeks as they tackle a wide range of infrastructure projects and fix-it jobs.

Members of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 45 deployers are all experts in a wide range of technical specialties, including carpentry, civil engineering, plumbing, wiring, power production, air conditioning/heating, and heavy equipment operation. They are in Puerto Rico to practice these skills and train new unit members while at the same time helping the Coast Guard with much-needed improvements.

The squadron typically undertakes one such two-week assignment, called a deployment for training, each year. On previous such deployments its members built a schoolhouse in Ecuador; renovated facilities in Hawaii; installed fiber-optic lines in Israel; and upgraded roads, a training range and other infrastructure along California's border with Mexico.

"These deployments let us do two things," said Lt. Col. Ed Soto, the squadron's commander. "The most important thing, obviously, is the training. On a wartime deployment, a civil engineer squadron provides the infrastructure - everything from roads, runways and building maintenance to pest control - that make the operation of a modern base possible. A training deployment like this one helps us keep those skills sharp, and gives our new airmen the chance to work side-by-side with and get mentorship from our more experienced members.

"The beauty of doing our training this way," he added, "is that at we get all that training accomplished while at the same time doing a lot of much-needed real-world work. On each training deployment, our men and women have packed in as many fixes, upgrades and improvements as humanly possible in two or three weeks. Our hosts have always been very, very appreciative of all their hard work and the results they've brought."

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