MADISON, Wis. - Airmen pouring concrete, turning windows into walls and installing doors were active throughout the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin, August 3-22.
Identified by their red hats, members of the 210th Red Horse Squadron out of Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, came to the 115th to help with various infrastructure projects.
"We brought these individuals here as an initiative to use our limited sustainment repair modernization funds, to get more work accomplished," said Maj. Daniel Statz, 115th Civil Engineering Squadron commander.
The cost of labor alone would have put a big dent in the budget. By bringing the 210th RHS out to do the infrastructure work, the 115th did not have to pay a civilian contractor for labor costs - they just had to pay the Airmen for their training days and provide the construction materials needed to get the jobs done.
Maximizing work done on base while staying within budget was one of CE's goals, but they also had training missions they needed to accomplish.
"We wanted to get real-world training to other units that are tasked to deploy to support base infrastructure," Statz said. "It also gave us a chance to provide real-world training to our unit by supporting a workforce coming in to do construction."
Senior Airman Michael Levison, 210th RHS structures, was one of the Airmen who worked on the various construction projects. One of his focuses was to remove a window in Building 500 and replace it with a flat wall.
"That was the first window removal I've ever done," Levison said. "The projects here have given me training opportunities I've never had before."
If the 210th RHS deploys overseas, they will be expected to know how to set up a forward operating base or complete infrastructure work in existing locations. The experiences they have received in Wisconsin are building blocks they can use in the future.
Because of the high quality and efficiency of the work, the group was offered additional days to do even more projects at the 115th Fighter Wing.
"They were only planning to be here for two weeks," Statz said. "There were additional resources available, so nine of them agreed to stay longer to help us with more projects."
The CE commander plans to bring in larger groups to work on bigger projects next year.
"This was a small test on what they could accomplish," Statz said. "This crew showed up and got everything done that we've asked them to do. They've exceeded our expectations."