by Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot
36th Wing Public Affairs
5/1/2015 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Many may not know, but underneath every person's feet at Andersen Air Force Base lie unseen miles of pipeline.
It is up to the water and fuel systems specialists of the 36th Civil
Engineer Squadron to not only maintain the 45 miles of fuel pipeline and
100,000 miles of water lines, but also inspect and maintain the Air
Force's largest fuel storage buildings, which in total hold 66 million
Day and night, the 36th CES Airmen install, inspect, modify and repair
600 facilities that include water and wastewater treatment systems,
water distribution, waste collection systems, fire suppression, backflow
prevention systems and liquid fuel storage.
"Basically from the moment the water reaches the base to the moment it
leaves the base as waste, it is our responsibility," said Staff Sgt.
Staci Ducusin, 36th CES water and fuels systems craftsman.
The shop is composed of 13 Airmen and 20 civilians working in sync. The
military members are trained to work with both water and fuels, while
the civilians are specialized and hone in on their skills as liquid fuel
maintainers, mechanics and plumbers.
"The beauty of having (civilians) here is that they understand these
buildings, that have been renovated many times and sometimes we
(military personnel) don't know how the plumbing works in there," said
Staff Sgt. John Steklachick, 36th CES water and fuels systems craftsman.
"It's a learning process, but experience is obviously going to take the
Since water and fuels systems maintainers are trained to work with both
water and fuels, they have a wide variety of skill sets and are tasked
with a range of jobs throughout the day.
The utilities systems maintainers' job is to ensure Airmen always have the water they need wherever they are.
"Whenever people call about clogged toilets or backed up floor drains,
we are the ones maintaining that and trying to keep flow going
downstream," Steklachick said.
The crews are also trained to set up field water purification units and
field water distribution systems, as well as maintain and repair
permanent water facilities to bring potable water to the warfighter.
They also repair, maintain or replace washers, valve seats, leaking
faucets and water/sewer lines where needed.
The liquid fuels systems maintainers' job is to perform preventive and
major maintenance on liquid fuel systems used for storing, distributing
and dispensing gasoline and jet fuel. In addition, they manage periodic
inspections on liquid fuel systems for leakage, corrosion, and faulty
fittings then make necessary repairs or adjustments.
"Our job is extremely important," Steklachick said. "We deal with the
quality of life. Imagine a base without water and fuel. You need a
runway and water to establish an Air Force Base."