Reserve helps rebuild after tornado
An Alaska Reserve unit has just returned from Tennessee where the task at hand was rebuilding a school that was destroyed by a tornado in 2011.
Members of the 477th Civil Engineer Squadron installed lighting units, rewired the facility to meet code, hung sheet rock, and painted the interior of the Riverside Christian Academy’s field house in Fayetteville earlier this month.
This service project is a part of Air Force Reserve Commands Innovative Readiness Training that provides an opportunity for unit members to get hands-on training in their career field to enable upgrades and promotions.
“As a CE unit with a deployment mission, only, we don’t get many opportunities to actually do our jobs,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mary Beth Eassa, 477th Civil Engineer Squadron, Operations Management superintendent. “Projects like these help us stay proficient in our jobs.”
Of the 19 CES Airmen all were traditional Reservists, which mean they serve in a military capacity one weekend a month and two weeks of Annual Tour a year while either working full time or going to school.
“We appreciate the precious time that employers allow our members to serve our country,” said Lt. Col. Michael Forcht, 477th CES commander. “In return, employers gain a more experienced technician, and some deserving organization gets a helping hand and an opportunity to see our professionals at work.”
While the IRT’s are a way for Airmen to hone skills and give back to the community they also offer an opportunity to improve unit cohesion.
“[These projects allow our Airmen to] work as a team in and out of their career fields, and often with personnel from different bases,” said Forcht. “Gaining this team experience develops trust among squadron members, leverages experience and training opportunities from other units and allows non-commissioned officers and officers an opportunity to develop leadership and management skills. These skills then can be utilized to their fullest during our deployments.”