ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 78th Civil Engineering Group and the 116th Civil Engineering Squadron recently came together to begin tackling a list of projects to improve the quality of work life at Robins as part of the Air Force Materiel Command’s “We Need” initiative.
The AFMC We Need enterprise-wide initiative, launched June 24, 2019, seeks inputs and recommendations from AFMC civilian and military Airmen that can help posture the command to best support the National Defense Strategy today and in the decades to come.
“AFMC We Need was the brainchild of Gen. Bunch,” said Scott Hastings, 78th CEG director. “Upon taking command last year, General Bunch conducted a survey of all AFMC employees to help shape the command for the future. This initiative highlighted opportunities and challenges on how to create the AFMC We Need. At Robins AFB, many of those challenges were directly related to facilities, so our installation leadership provided a list of projects, some of which were funded this year.”
Hastings said in addition to the projects being done by construction contractors, 78th CEG partnered with the 116th CES and developed a plan to garner enough man-days from AFMC to fund eight Guardsmen for about three weeks.
Once a plan was developed, the team tackled its to-do list.
“One of the main projects we tackled was the installation of the bottle fill water fountains as this was a response to Coronavirus Disease 2019,” said Chief Master Sgt. Russell Hunt, chief enlisted manager for the 116th CES. “My water and fuels systems maintenance technicians installed one in each of the six unaccompanied Airmen dormitories, two installed in the Airman Leadership School facility, and one installed in Bldg. 905, which contains the library, educational centers and the 78th Air Base Wing headquarters.”
Hunt said after the fountains were installed, structural craftsmen from his unit repaired walls to restore the areas’ original look.
Other projects included removal and renovation of bathrooms in Buildings 300 and 660, repair of heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in the dormitories and at the Museum of Aviation.
As part of the AFMC-driven projects, Hunt said the team produced 110 doorstops to allow doors within a facility to remain open during hours of operation, reducing the physical contact between users and the door handles.
Additionally, Hunt said there were some painting projects that were completed in various base facilities, as well as a 25-square foot roof repair done at the Robins Family Camp.
While work on the bathrooms in Buildings 300 and 660 won’t begin until contract approval takes place, Hunt said the team expects to complete some of these projects near the end of June.
Work on the projects hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“The first challenge was getting vehicles for the 8 Guardsmen,” Hastings said. “The 78 CEG only has enough work trucks for our workforce, so the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron came through and provided four outstanding vehicles for use by the Guardsmen.”
The 116th CES had their challenges too.
“In the world of civil engineering, particularly in the utilities field, it’s rare that you’ll come across two jobs that are exactly the same,” Staff Sgt. Emily Gottlick, a Water and Fuels Systems Maintenance craftsmen in the 116th CES, said.
“There is no handbook that could possibly cover all of the plumbing set-ups that we come across in these facilities,” Gottlick said. “Some may look at this as a challenge, but we just see it as another day in the life. Thinking outside of the box and forming innovative ideas to get the job done is just what we do.”
But, Hastings said the team has worked hard to improve life at Robins.
“These projects were necessary to improve the quality of work life for AFMC employees at Robins,” he said. “Were it not for garnering AFMC “We Need” funding, neither of these bathroom projects would have been funded for at least two years.”
Hastings said the 78th CEG and 116th CES have always had a great working relationship.
“In the past, 78th CEG has provided opportunities for 116th CES Airmen to work alongside us while at the same time getting the experience they need to complete valuable training in their respective trades,” he said. “What made this man-day project work so seamlessly is the fact that Chief Hunt once worked as a civilian in the 78th CEG. He knew our processes, people and facilities. This project would not have been so successful without his leadership and knowledge.”
Hunt said he is proud of the team for coming through for Team Robins.
“They came in motivated and not once shied away from any project,” he said. ”The customers were happy to see them come into the facilities. No matter how much sweat covered my team members, they all wore the face of pride and accomplishment at the end of the day.”