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2 CES ‘Dirt Boys’ pave the way for Team Barksdale

By Senior Airman Kristin High 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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The 'Dirt Boys', also known as the pavement and equipment Airmen, have a huge impact on Barksdale and the Air Force as a whole. From maintaining the roads to repairing and maintaining the flightline, this small group of Airmen helps to keep the mission going 24/7.

Although their presence is rarely seen, these Airmen of the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron are constantly repairing and improving the base.

"The main purpose of our job is to maintain the active runway and taxi ways," said Master Sgt. Eric Lang, 2 CES pavement and equipment supervisor. "We also do storm clean up after hurricanes, tornadoes and basically any major storm, along with snow and ice clean up."

Recently the Dirt Boys helped improve the base by sealing over 18,000 linear feet of pavement on the flightline which protected $6 billion in war fighting assets. Sealing preserves the life of all pavement by not allowing water to get underneath which causes the soil to expand and contract causing pavement to crack.

The Dirt Boys not only repair pavement and taxiways, they also make other improvements around the base to prevent costly environmental fines.

They made Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range repairs where the Airmen removed contaminated water by constructed lead diversion which eliminated $15,000 daily Environment Protection Agency fines.

"The runoff from the firing range was contaminating the ground, so we went in and installed a drainage system to channel the water away from a nearby stream," said Lang.

This group of Airmen leaves its mark on every corner of the base. Daily operations can include pot hole and driveway repair as well as other routine repairs. They learn to use a variety of equipment such as front-end loaders, bulldozers, backhoes, road graders, skid steer loaders, jackhammers, bobcats and dump trucks.

"The jobs that our newer Airmen accomplish may seem small, but they prepare them for their deployments and doing a lot of the bigger jobs such as repairing spalls and parts of the airfield," said Lang. "It doesn't take much to damage an aircraft and our team allows for the aircraft here to continue with the mission."

Every spall, or damaged area, fixed on the flightline is potentially saving an aircraft and giving life back to the airfield by creating a safer environment.

"Our job is hard work, but at the end of the day you can put your name on it," said Airman 1st Class Anthony Ohl, 2 CES pavement and equipment apprentice. "It gives you a sense of pride when you pass by your small impact on the base."