Civil engineers do more than meets the eye

Senior Airman Kyle O'Hara, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, welds together a gate used for storm drains around Yokota Air Base. Airman O'Hara works in the verticle repair section. (Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Veronica Pierce VIRIN 070403-F-3177P-020)

Senior Airman Kyle O'Hara, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, welds together a gate used for storm drains around Yokota Air Base. Airman O'Hara works in the verticle repair section. (Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Veronica Pierce VIRIN 070403-F-3177P-020)

Airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron unclog a manhole on Yokota Air Base that is full of cooking grease and oil from residents pouring thses liquids down the drains. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Veronica Pierce VIRIN 070402-F-3177P-064)

Airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron unclog a manhole on Yokota Air Base that is full of cooking grease and oil from residents pouring thses liquids down the drains. (Air Force photo by Senior Airman Veronica Pierce VIRIN 070402-F-3177P-064)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Civil engineer squadrons around the Air Force host a wide variety of professions that other
Airman may overlook at times.

However these jobs are critical to the mission and for military members living on installations civil engineers play a key role in their quality of life.

The 374th Civil Engineer Squadron is no different. The power production, vertical structures and utilities sections of the 374 CES ensure their respective areas on Yokota Air Base remain fully functional and within standards.

The mission of power production is to provide mechanical generated electrical power for mission critical facilities and aircraft in-flight emergency landing capability in support of the Yokota and Pacific Air Forces missions.

They furnish uninterrupted power during unscheduled and scheduled power outages to keep the base mission going. Power production also ensure facilities that require a standard U.S. electrical output of 60 hertz, are converted from the local off-base power requirement of 50 hertz, to the U.S. standard to operate appliances from the states.

"An important thing we do is preventing fighter pilot loss of life and aircraft damage during diverted In Flight Emergencies," said Staff Sgt. Dominique Carvin, 374 CES noncommissioned officer in charge of aircraft arresting systems. "Some aircraft flying into Yokota require use of our aircraft arresting systems here if they experience some type of failure causing a fighter to lose the ability to stop on its own".

The mission never stops on Yokota and neither does the power production section. "Power is a necessity in Yokota's mission and power is our mission," said Sergeant Carvin. "We always complete our mission regardless of rain, snow, after hours, weekends, holidays and minimal manning periods during our deployments."

In addition to providing power, the 374 CES vertical repair shop repairs and maintains equipment on base.

The vertical repair shop is responsible for all repair and maintenance of real property and real property installed equipment on Yokota and several satellite sites throughout the Kanto plains that is vertical from the ground.

There are a total of 1,816 facilities that is an approximately 10 million square feet and an estimated $1.6 billion that they are responsible for maintaining.

The vertical repair shop also carries out airfield and traffic painting and markings.

"We can maintain and fix any part of the building between the roof and the foundation that is real property," said Tech Sgt. Kenneth McGlamery, noncommissioned officer charge of vertical repair.

"In the vertical repair shop we have Airmen and Japanese employees that specialize in painting, welding and carpentry, lock smith work, sheet metal and roofing," said Sergeant McGlamery.

The 374 CES has one of PACAF's largest utilities section. They operate and maintain 67 miles of water mains throughout the installation holding 2.2 million gallons.

Also, the piping's infrastructure is estimated at $1.2 billion.

The utilities section encompasses various career fields. Some of these fields include being a plumber, water treatment technician, water distribution technician, wastewater plant operator, fire suppression system inspector and repair technician. They are also equivalent to backflow prevention inspection and testing technicians in the civilian sector.

In cooperation with the bioenvironmental flight they ensure that all the water supplied to Yokota residents is both potable and palatable.

"With out drinking water and the proper removal and disposal of wastewater the health and welfare of everyone assigned to Yokota would be placed in jeopardy," said Master Sgt. Gary Souder, noncommissioned officer in charge of utilities systems

"We ask that personnel be patient when they have a problem," said Sergeant Souder. "We do our best to respond to every customer's needs, but they must remember that we maintain the entire installation."