Military News

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dirt Boys set foundation for OIR recovery mission in Turkey

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 hour days.

"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."

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