by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
18th Wing Public Affairs
3/3/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S.
civil engineer Airmen and combat engineer Marines participated in a
joint airfield damage and repair contingency exercise held at Kadena Air
Base Feb. 26.
Engineers from the 172nd and 171st Engineering Companies and 18th Civil
Engineering Squadron worked together to repair a damaged runway in
response to a simulated air attack.
"Our mission is to reestablish an operational runway, so we can get
planes in and out," said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. David Brown-Dawson, 18th
CES Airfield Damage and Repair officer in charge. "If an attack were to
actually to happen, we need to utilize all of our assets, and that's
military wide. Not just Air Force, not just Navy, Army and the Marines
-- we all need come together, because we're all fighting the same
The exercise gave members from both services the opportunity to showcase
their runway repair capabilities and helped them establish more
effective ways to communicate and react in a crisis situation.
"It's been really helpful to come out and see how the Air Force does it,
because this is their bread and butter," said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt.
John Mutton, 172nd Marine Wing Support Squadron combat engineer
officer, "They are also able to see how we operate as well, which allows
us to establish relations that are really helpful for the future."
Marines and Airmen donned personal protective gear in response to a
simulated chemical attack. Other responses were conducted side-by-side,
including assessing airfield damage, establishing a mobile aircraft
arresting system, leveling a 50-foot crater and securing a folded fiber
Reestablishing an operational runway is vital in order to maintain
offensive and defensive capabilities. Electrician Airmen set up a
threshold of runway lights across the airfield, marking the boundaries
of a minimum operating strip. This allowed for aircraft to take off and
land in a safe to use section of an otherwise damaged runway.
"I always look forward to see what the Marines have to offer," said U.S.
Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Novack, 18th CES ADR horizontal repair
NCO in charge. "More than one set of eyes is always better, because they
can see something totally different than the way we do. They can help
us improve a simple step, and that alone can make our lives a lot
easier. And, we show them a few tricks along the way as well."
While each service follows different response procedures, the exercise
helped them learn how to understand how one another operates, combining
their assets and improving their ability to work together.