176 Civil Engineer Air Guardsmen return from deployment in Kuwait
By Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Goldberger, 176 Wing
/ Published June 18, 2012
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Eleven Alaska Air National Guardsmen from the 176 Civil Engineer Squadron are scheduled to return here June 14 following a six-month tour in Kuwait.
The returning Alaska Guardsmen are 11 of about 25 civil engineers who deployed over the winter months and will arrive in two groups at Ted Stevens International Airport.
"To say I am proud of our accomplishments is an understatement," said Lt Col Ed Soto, commander of the 176 Civil Engineer Squadron. "In one year, civil engineer Air Guardsmen helped moved an Air National Guard Base, passed a compliance inspection and deployed to support contingency operations worldwide."
The Alaska Guardsmen were assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron alongside members of the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron from Fargo, N.D..
According to Master Sgt. Brian Lewis, who returned two weeks ago, the 176 Wing members worked hard with their peers to improve the base.
"One of our main goals was to try to make everything better, smoother, more efficient than when we arrived," Lewis said. "There's a sense of urgency and importance when you're deployed."
The Guardsmen, some on their first deployment, worked in their trained skills including electrical, power production, mechanical, utilities, heavy equipment, structures, engineering, production control and pest management.
Specifically, some of the unit's accomplishments included: the production control section saved hundreds of thousands of dollars acquiring essential supplies from the draw down in Iraq; the heating, ventilation and air conditioning section worked to keep systems operating in temperatures ranging from below 35 degrees on winter nights to above 110 degrees on summer days; and the heavy equipment shop improved security by building up berms and digging trenches.
"It's great to be home," Lewis said, "but there's quite an adjustment we have to make and there are aspects I will miss."