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RED HORSE to the rescue: Unit helps with runway project at Fort McCoy PDF Print E-mail
on Saturday, 09 June 2007

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by Rob Schuette

6/8/2007 - FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- Work on the Young Air Assault Strip to accommodate C-17 aircraft got an unexpected boost from Air Force personnel from the 819th FED HORSE Squadron from Malmstrom. 

Tech. Sgt. Rob Cullison, the NCOIC of Airfield Damage Repair for the 819th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, said the unit members were looking for information about how to build an unimproved air assault landing strip. A special forces unit in Helena wants the 819th RHS to build one for them that could accommodate C-17s to assist with their training. When the unit contacted the Army Corps of Engineers, they were told that Fort McCoy had a project they could support. 

"This has been good training for the members of our unit because it's what we're looking to get into," Sergeant Cullison said. The work includes moving back berms and adding additional material to strengthen the runway. 

Michael Perzel III, the Troop Projects coordinator for VT Griffin, the contractor that provides Directorate of Support Services for Fort McCoy, said it was good fortune to be able to bring the Airmen to Fort McCoy to do the work. 

"These Airmen are full-time personnel who do this type of work," said Mr. Perzel. "They are providing very valuable support to help us accomplish this project in time to support the C-17 testing in June." 

Stephen Robert from the Engineer Research and Development Center of the Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Miss., said the project will help ensure the runway can handle the increased size of the C-17 aircraft. The C-17 is an upgraded version of the C-130 cargo aircraft. 

"The better compaction we achieve results in a stronger runway surface," said Mr. Robert. "A stronger runway allows for more C-130 and C-17 missions and operations with less airfield maintenance." 

This is much like a city or other governmental entity repairing and improving roads to reduce the damage to the cars or other vehicles using the highways and allowing the motorists to get from one destination to another as quickly and smoothly as possible, he said. 

Master Sgt. Tom Moenck, the Troop Projects NCOIC for DSS, said the Airmen brought a lot of skills and know-how to the project. 

They have served tours to support both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as upgrading the infrastructure along the U.S. southern border, Sergeant Moenck said. The Airmen have worked extensively with Army personnel and shared the experiences they have gained through their service. 

"They're showing us how to tighten up and stabilize the subgrade of the runway," said Sergeant Moenck.

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Last update: Saturday, 09 June 2007

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