Getting down and dirty
By Senior Airman Stuart Bright, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 27, 2019
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
It’s after four in the afternoon and Airmen from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Pavements and Heavy Equipment Flight are returning to their building after a long day working around the base. Their shirts are stained with sweat and their boots are covered in dirt after. As they begin to pack their equipment and head home to clean up, they know they will be back tomorrow and work another long day.
The “Dirt Boyz” are responsible for maintaining the base by keeping the airfield, sidewalks and roads in usable condition at Barksdale Air Force Base.
The most important job the Dirt Boyz are tasked with directly impacts the mission,which is maintaining and repairing the flightline so B-52H Stratofortresses can take off and land without the potential of sustaining damage.
“Ultimately planes are the mission,” Tech. Sgt. Daniel Moore, 2nd CES pavements and equipment craftsman. “We try to put our best work as we possibly can into what we are doing. We don’t want to lose an aircraft or keep it from going down range.”
Some of the jobs the Dirt Boyz are tasked with include filling potholes in roads to clear drains so the base doesn’t flood and making sure the perimeter fence is in working condition so nothing can get in.
“Our squadron statement is ‘Engineers lead the way’,” Moore said. “No one else is going to do it so we might as well.”
The shovel and rake are the most commonly used tools the Dirt Boyz use to complete these jobs. For tougher jobs they use heavy equipment like cranes and dump trucks, but according to Moore, the most important tool in the arsenal of a Dirt Boy isn’t found in their hands.
Common sense is huge, he said. You can teach people how to do things but if they do not have common sense then this isn’t the right career field for them.
As hands on as they are, this unit prides themselves oncoming back from a day of work covered in muck and grime.
“Being a Dirt Boy means knowing when to come in, work hard and get your sweat on,” said Senior Airman Davain N’saman, 2nd CES pavement and heavy equipment apprentice.
At the end of the day, this group of Airmen take pride in their work and want to leave Barksdale better than how they found it.
“I love my job with all my heart,” N’saman said. “I can see what I have done to a base and that can leave a lasting impression.”
Getting dirty to make sure the mission stays on track or making the base safer and look nicer are what the Dirt Boyz are all about, even if it means getting their uniforms a little messy.