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CE structures shop employs ingenuity to complete projects

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq - A fire rescue truck and equipment sit under the recently built overhang here Oct 13, 2009.  Airmen assigned to the 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's structures shop recently demonstrated their ingenuity and saved the Air Force money by constructing the protective overhang with scrap materials.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Breckon)

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq - A fire rescue truck and equipment sit under the recently built overhang here Oct 13, 2009. Airmen assigned to the 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's structures shop recently demonstrated their ingenuity and saved the Air Force money by constructing the protective overhang with scrap materials. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Breckon)

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airmen assigned to the 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's structures shop here recently demonstrated their ingenuity constructing a protective overhang while saving the Air Force money. 

With a little creativity, discarded scrap materials and a drive for customer satisfaction, an overhang was built to shelter Fire Station One's emergency response vehicle and equipment from the desert conditions. 

"As the rain comes, they (firefighters) were worried about their gear getting wet and since they stage it by the truck, they wanted to be able to cover the entire area so all their equipment can remain dry and functional," said Senior Master Sgt. Frank Barnes, 506th ECES, structures shop superintendent, a Reservist deployed here from the 446th CES, McChord Air Force Base, Wash. 

When the needed materials were not in stock, the Airmen ventured to a scrap yard on base. 

"The landfill has all kinds of steel from things that were taken apart at the base - scrap material that we go out and look through," Sergeant Barnes said. "Whatever we can use from there to implement in current projects, we try to do that to save the Air Force money and to save time." 

To successfully complete this project, two structures craftsmen salvaged nine 24-foot long steel high beams that were welded into place on steel supports across two concrete t-walls. They also used a nonfunctional 10,000 gallon fuel bladder placed as a waterproof protective covering over sheets of plywood nailed on top of the steel beams. 

Sergeant Barnes said he estimates the savings at approximately $20,000 based on the steel beams and roofing material. 

The work became a collaborative effort between Tech. Sgts. Derek Williams and Douglas Shelton, both 506th ECES structural craftsmen. 

"I came up with the general idea and Sergeant Williams took the material I found and made it all work," said Sergeant Shelton, deployed here from the 512th CES, Dover AFB, Del. 

Creating the framework for the project presented a challenge of its own after the Airmen acquired the materials. 

"The walls weren't evenly parallel ... so we had to even it up and then make one side higher so water can run off of it," said Sergeant Williams, also deployed here from the 512th CES. 

Prior to the new overhang, the fire station made do with what they had. 

"Before, all we had was a temper tent cover that pretty much sagged in the middle and when it rained, it really sagged," said Master Sgt. Kermit Watson, 506th ECES, fire station captain, deployed here from the 403rd CES, Keesler AFB, Miss. "They came by and they did a really good job, actually a great job. Our rescue truck sits here and it has a lot of items on it and during the day shift the guys keep their equipment out here, so the overhang keeps out the rain and prevents sun damage." 

Many work projects are now taking shape and reaping the benefits from the salvaged goods that would otherwise go to waste. 

Sergeant Barnes summarized what it means for the structures shop to recycle material, 
"I think it helps us by allowing us to get more projects done because it's like the old adage, 'one man's trash is another man's treasure.'"