Key Field Airmen Recognized by Coast Guard

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Sabrina Dalton
  • 186th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office
Forty Airmen with the 186th Civil Engineer Squadron received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation here for their participation in a deployment for training at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater in Clearwater, Florida from May 17 to June 30, 2014.   

Why would the Coast Guard be awarding Airmen with a commendation you might ask? 

It is because of their "extraordinary effort and extraordinary results," Lt. Col. Christopher Gant, 186 CES commander, expressed as he awarded the Airmen with the ribbon. 

This unique DFT was a joint effort involving the U.S. Coast Guard and the Air National Guard.  Two other units, the 103rd Airlift Wing from Connecticut and the 157th Air Refueling Wing from New Hampshire, also participated in the operation. 

The culmination of talent and teamwork by the Guardsmen increased energy savings and improved working conditions for everyone aboard and abroad who are supported by the Air Station, saving the Coast Guard more than $300,000. 

Clearwater reaped the benefits of the Guardsmen's specialized skill sets.  The CES has much to offer, as it is made up of nine different Air Force Specialty Codes:  heavy equipment operators, power production/electricians, water and fuel systems, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/r), engineer assistants, production control, structures, emergency management, and the fire department.

During their annual training, Airmen practiced their skill sets in a deployed location while providing services to the 72-acre Air Station.  Being the largest and busiest Air Station, ASC covers the Clearwater area, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean basin, and the Bahamas. 

As a whole, the work that the Civil Engineers did for Clearwater was astounding.  They transformed a storage room to house a new, more efficient air handler, constructed a brand new compressor building, and replaced every boiler at the Air Station.  In addition, they installed a dust collection system, laid over 30 pallets of sod, and modified several ditches to improve drainage. 

"We built a concrete ramp off a galley to make it more accessible, put hand rails up, put in sidewalks, tore some down, and constructed a compressor building," Senior Master Sgt. Anthony McClinton, infrastructural superintendent for the projects, explained.

Their multi-faceted talents not only benefit the military.  The members receive training and skill sets that transfer to the civilian sector.  By doing what they do best, the servicemember's talents are two-fold. 

"Because of the education I've received through the Air Force, I'm working with a company doing pretty much the same thing I do for the Air Force," Senior Airman Timothy Eaves, engineering assistant, said. 

The Airmen's devotion to duty and outstanding performance were keeping with the highest traditions afforded by the Air National Guard.  The recognition of the 186 CES by the Coast Guard is a testament to the core values of the Air Force: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.