by Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
10/13/2015 - DIYARBAKIR AIR BASE, Turkey -- Eight
'Dirt Boys' from the 435th Construction Training Squadron and 786th
Civil Engineer Squadron deployed to Diyarbakir Air Base, Turkey, Aug.
12, 2015, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The team's sole mission for deploying to the Turkish installation is to
build a bare base to support Airmen and assets that will conduct
personnel recovery operations in Syria and Iraq. Over the past 36 days,
the Airmen have dumped, graded, leveled and rolled more than 78,000 tons
of rocks and gravel.
"Everything starts and ends with the foundation," said Staff Sgt. Jack
DeMato, 435th CTS pavements and construction equipment operator. "You
have to have a solid foundation to build a base. We started right away
so that the other Airmen could build the facilities that the follow-on
forces will being using throughout their deployments."
For DeMato, the type of work he is doing in Diyarbakir is what he practices and teaches on a daily base at his home station.
"The majority of the dirt boys deployed here are from the training
flight where we actually teach bare base construction planning and
layout to other Airmen," DeMato said. "What we're doing here today is
practicing what we preach."
DeMato also mentioned that the project is special to him.
"I have a great sense of pride in the work I am doing here," Demato
said. "This is the largest sized project I have ever been a part of. To
be able to look back and see where it all began as a grassy field with a
few trees to where it is now, really makes this mission special to me."
According to Demato, the biggest challenge the team has faced throughout
their deployment to Diyarbakir is unseen objects below the surface.
"This area was filled with massive boulders, which made it a tad bit
more difficult to flatten everything out. But, it wasn't a showstopper,"
DeMato said. "Whether we have to do it by hand or heavy machinery, dirt
boys are going to get it done one way or another."
Since arriving, the dirt boys have worked approximately12 to 15 hour
days to build up and ensure mission readiness of the deployment site.
According to DeMato, it's the Airmen he works with every day and 'not
stopping till the job is done' mentality that gets him through the long
"I came here with some really hard working guys," Demato said. "We
haven't stopped working since we got here and they still have a smile on
their face. There is the big goal of going home in the end, which is a
driving factor to keep going, but for me it's the 'cradle to the grave',
finished product I want to see to be able to hand over to the next
Airmen deployed here."