Dirtboyz pave the way
By Chris Willis, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 04, 2015
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Ever run over a hole in the road or watch a broken water pipe flood the area? That is where the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and equipment section comes in handy. ]
"The mission of the pavement and equipment, also known as the dirtboyz, is to maintain the base and also undertake new construction projects," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Berner, 341st CE pavement and equipment section chief.
Currently the shop has 36 personnel, with eight Airmen dedicated to the missile field each month. The Airmen dispatched to the field maintain the surrounding roads by plowing snow or repairing defective pavement so others can accomplish the wing's mission.
"Right now we have Airmen working on road repair, valve replacement and construction on a new helicopter tactical slide area," said Berner.
The section repairs and maintains 34.6 miles of road, 158.3 acres of paved parking lots and 13.9 miles of sidewalks.
"We have found preventative maintenance is cheaper than allowing the pavement to completely fail and then have to replace them entirely," said Berner. "Valve replacement prevents ruptures that could waste the water supply for the entire base."
The section is also working on creating a helicopter tactical slide area for the 40th Helicopter Squadron to practice skid landing in the event of an emergency.
During the project, the DirtBoyz will be placing 4,000 cubic yards of reclaimed fill material and grading it to a one percent slope.
The shop also takes training very seriously due to the possible hazards of their job.
"We are constantly training on the job sites learning new techniques and different ways of fixing things, while constantly stressing the importance of safety," said Berner. "Once a month we dedicate a day just for training."
Berner enjoys his job because of the satisfaction of seeing a completed job, which he gets to see from the start to the end.
"At the end of the day you know that you accomplished or created something and it is there to make somebody's life a little easier," said Berner. "It is also nice to say 'look, this is what I did today.'"