78th CEG: ‘Cog’ in sustainment mission

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is like most military installations with all the services of a small city, which enables the base to sustain its grounds and infrastructure to support its daily peacetime and wartime missions.

The mission of 78th Civil Engineer Group paves the way to ensure the lights are kept on, as well as sustain the grounds and infrastructure to support daily peacetime and wartime missions.

Chet Williams, 78th Civil Engineer Squadron Heavy Flight chief, said they ensure the runway and flight line can take and handle aircraft.

“We do that by ensuring there are no holes or breaks in the concrete, otherwise known as smalls, or potholes,” he said. “We have a sweeper vehicle out there daily cleaning the taxiways and runway to ensure those areas are clean. Also, the operator identifies items that need to be repaired and communicates those issues to Robins Airfield Management to verify issues that might need to be addressed or fixed.”

Steve Jackson, 78th CES Heavy Flight Roads and Grounds supervisor, said they maintain the parking aprons at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex industrial flight line area.

“We do the preventive maintenance on the parking aprons and constantly check them to make sure the concrete is not shifting and cracking,” he said. “If there is an area too large for us to work, we will contract that out for repair, but for the areas that are within our scope of work, we will make those repairs quickly.”

The industrial area, flight line and runway have priority when issues arise.

“We do a priority authorization for base issues and the flight line is high on our priority to get things taken care of out there,” said Williams. “That kind of drives the needs to what gets done first.”

The 78th CES Heavy Flight takes care of structures, grounds and surface roads at Robins and the facilities flight takes care of all the buildings on base, said Rondy Williams, 78th CES Facilities Flight chief.

“The 78th CES Facilities Flight’s power production shop maintains all the backup generators around the airfield,” he said. “We do biweekly and monthly inspections on the various backup generators, which go to the arresting systems, runway and taxiway lights, the air traffic control tower, and integrated landing systems, otherwise known as ALS.”

Williams said there’s more than 120 backup generators across the base.

“Those generators have automatic start with automatic power transfer, so, when the power goes out the systems around the airfield and base will have continuous power until regular power can be restored,” he added. “If power can’t be restored in a timely manner, each generator has a 200-plus gallon fuel tank that allows them to run for days if need be.”

According to Williams, both flight’s responsibilities go beyond the flight line.

“The facilities flight maintains the steam plant, which produces steam for production operations and heating to buildings, which keeps you comfortable when it’s cold,” he said. “Additionally, we maintain the alarm shop that keeps the security and fire alarm systems working, and we keep all the base traffic lights working and ensure the traffic light systems are operating properly.

“Furthermore, the electrical shop maintains the primary and secondary voltage relays to the substations that provide power to the base. We also maintain all interior power, the substations, transformers, circuits, breaker and all the underground cables that go to all the facilities.”

Jackson said he enjoys what he does.

“Our jobs are a small cog in the workings of the base sustainment mission, and that gives me a sense of self worth,” he said. “When someone comes to me not knowing how to do something, I can give them the correct answer that solves their problem or get something fixed efficiently; that makes me feel really good about myself.”

Williams agreed.

“It makes me feel good knowing our flights help to maintain the base’s readiness,” he said. “I feel proud that I can support that every day. It gives me joy knowing I am making sure our world is safe.”