New bivouac creates realistic training environment

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Josh Weaver
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Turning an empty patch of ground into a functional, operating base doesn’t happen in a day, unless you’re a highly trained civil engineer.

Airmen from the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron recently put that training to the test, setting up a bare base with 24 tents, in roughly 10 hours.

“A civil engineer squadron has a cyclical requirement to perform a bivouac, which entails multiple hands-on training opportunities and setting up a bare base,” said Master Sgt. Dustin Fullerton, 434th CES heavy repair superintendent.

The training was made much easier this year by the addition of a new bivouac site on Grissom that took more than a year to set up.

“The site development is still going on and will continue to expand in the coming months and years,” said Fullerton.

The new site consists of multiple concrete pads, much like the ones found in a deployed environment, that allow engineers to participate in a realistic bare base set up.

“We will now be able to use this site for our deployment requirements,” said Master Sgt. Malcom Mitchell, 434th CES, electrician. “This new site will allow us to make sure that everyone is deployable in the future.”

While the Airmen from CE were the first to use the site others want to use it too.

“There is a large interest in our site,” said Fullerton. “Our goal is to build a playbook that will help other units while also having a local solution to our expeditionary training requirements.”

As with everything in the Air Force, nothing can be done alone, it takes a total team effort to accomplish the mission.

The Air Force Reserve Command Contingency Equipment Management Facility at Grissom was able to supply CE with multiple items to make their bivouac a success. Everything from the tents that were set up to the generators that powered them.

At the end of the day the exercise was a successful learning experience for everyone involved, from the newest Airman to the most seasoned.

“This type of exercise better prepares our Airmen for experiences, assets and equipment they will see down range,” said Fullerton. “In my experience, these type of exercises have greatly improved my capabilities and confidence that I could perform my job.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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