Robins Proud: Civil Engineers, the foundation of Robins

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

Robins Air Force Base Installation Commander Col. Brian Moore considers the 78th Civil Engineer Group “the backbone” of the base.

Moore acknowledged the team’s ongoing work of maintaining and improving base facilities, during the latest Robins Proud Forum May 25.

“Our infrastructure is solid because of them,” said Moore. “Thank you to the folks who keep this enormous base running day in and day out for decades. The work gets done through a variety of offices: environmental, industrial, along with water and sewage treatment. These unsung heroes help keep our mission going.”

The forum gave a glimpse into some of the many undertakings of CE that keep the base operational, such as, utilities, mechanical, electrical, and road maintenance.

Their goal is to enhance the base and ensure safety.

“There are 1,100 facilities and 400 buildings on base, with the oldest being building 110, which was built in 1942. The buildings here span the whole spectrum of decades, in terms of age and conditions. And, we really have some heroes in the 78th Civil Engineer Group led by Scott Hastings,” said Moore.

One of the latest CE projects is the construction of a new commercial vehicle gate and access control center.

Those efforts are being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Robins AFB Resident Office.

In February, contractors started tearing down building 602 to make room for the additional entrance.

Marshall Wall, 78th CE Division chief, said the new $10 million gate will save the installation money.

“This will help reduce commercial traffic wait time. With one commercial gate there is traffic backup on Highway 247,” said Wall. “Those delays cost the installation money, with contractors charging us for their time while sitting in line to get on base and we have also lost several loads of asphalt and cement, which sat too long because of wait times.”

Wall believes the addition will have a positive impact for all of Team Robins.

“There will be an outbound lane for personally operated vehicles. This will allow us to get home a little quicker in the afternoons. Personnel from Avionics, Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters and others will have quicker access to Highway 247, while decreasing traffic at the Watson and Russell gates,” he said.

The new gate will meet current standards for antiterrorism and force protection. 

Derek Grimsley, 78th CE project manager, said the construction completion is scheduled for December 2021 and building occupancy will be in March 2022.

CE also works closely with the 78th Security Forces Squadron to address perimeter protection around the base.

Tackling environmental concerns is another focus of civil engineers.

“Our branch is primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with a myriad of state and federal environmental laws,” said Shannie Williams, 78th CE Environmental branch chief. “We are responsible for several heavily regulated programs across the installation, which include, but not limited to, air and water quality as well as the tracking of hazardous materials and the proper disposal of those materials.”

The CE has a monumental task as stewards of everything seen and unseen on the near 7,000 acres that make up the Robins installation.

“The one thing that I like about Robins Proud Forums is that it allows us to learn more about our people, programs, and mission sets that all come together in service of our nation and each other,” said Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Labrador, Installation command chief. “Through their efforts to sustain the base we are all able to stay in a state of readiness.”