by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/26/2015 - MANGALIA, Romania -- Framed
by the backdrop of the Black Sea shoreline, Oregon Air National
Guardsmen from the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron traveled
nearly halfway around the globe to renovate a medical facility here as
part of the U.S. European Commands' Humanitarian Civic Assistance
The restoration of Pavilion C at the Mangalia City Hospital is a
Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) project funded by the United States
European Command (EUCOM) with the participation of nearly 90 U.S.
military Airmen from Alabama and Oregon Air National Guard units. The
estimated total cost of this renovation is $60,000.
The Airmen addressed a rooftop terrace, treatment rooms, bathroom
upgrades, as well as other building projects at the clinic. The project
was started by the Alabama Air National Guard's 117th Air Refueling
Wing, and then handed over to the Oregon citizen-Airmen to complete.
Romania is a state partner with Alabama, under the National Guard's
State Partnership Program.
"The project is the duration of two rotations," said Lt. Col. Jacob
Skugrud, 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer deputy commander and project
officer. "Our sister unit in Alabama started the work and then the
Portland team followed in their footsteps to complete the project."
While some of the civil engineers took on the water damage repairs, a
significant aspect to the project was building a wheelchair ramp to the
Pavilion C entry.
Dr. Liviu Mocanu, hospital director, said the wheelchair ramp was vital to the overall construction project.
"To have a current health license for the building the addition of the
access ramp was necessary to serve those with disabilities," he said.
When the 142nd CES arrived, the basic concrete structure still had to be
completed. Modifications to the handrails, additional concrete forms
and a tile surface on the ramp took another eight days to complete.
"This hospital is special to this region of Romania, and it is a great
honor to have been chosen for the assistance," Macanu said.
Pavilion C specializes in oncological medicine. The severity of the
water damage forced several of the treatment rooms located on the third
floor to be decommissioned, forcing the practitioners to work in other
facilities in the area.
The damage to the treatment rooms transpired over time from the forth
floor terrace, as water exploited weaknesses in the building's
structure. The Alabama team pulled the damaged floor tile and installed a
new sealing membrane to keep water out, prior to laying the new tile.
With the roof project partially complete, the Oregon Airmen continued to
install the remainder of the tile roof, spending a majority of time
with detailing the final pieces and grouting until complete.
"The new membrane will keep water from seeping into the rooms and
hallway renovated on this project," Skugrud said. "The team from Alabama
had a bigger crew with about 50-plus members, so they were able to keep
the project on pace and prep other areas for our team to finish."
After arriving almost two days late to the site in Romania due to
airlift glitches, and with a smaller crew of 33 members, the 142nd
Airmen had to quickly pick up the pace on the clinic renovations.
Not only had the water damage affected the treatment rooms inside the
clinic but it also deteriorated the exterior stucco of the building,
damaging electrical lighting and fixtures both inside and out.
"The folks from Alabama had done the major prep and demo to the
exterior," said Capt. Lucas Smith, 142nd CES, who served as the project
lead for the building exterior renovations. "We had to go from the bare
concrete to primer and then to applying the stucco."
Applying stucco was a new experience for the Oregon Airmen, and allowed
for most of the crew working with Smith a chance to cross-train and
develop new skills.
"We've had an enthusiastic team during this process and I have no doubt
our younger Airmen have learned a great deal more than just how to apply
stucco," Smith said.
Deployments For Training (DFT) give Air National Guard units like the
142nd CES the opportunity to enhance existing skills while deploying
outside the United States, at the same time developing a sense of
responsibility in those host nations, Smith added.
"We preform DFT projects approximately once every three years, depending
on real-world deployments and our annual training commitments," said
142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Commander Lt. Col. Jason Lay.
According to Lay, a key decision on why this project was selected is the
diversity of skill sets within one project. Once on site, he quickly
put smaller teams together to tackle different areas of the building.
"There's a synergistic effect; people like working alongside each other,
camaraderie and team building occur naturally while accomplish an
objective together," Lay said.
"Out of the group here in Romania, about two-thirds of them are on their first DFT project."
One of the more experienced members of the Romanian deployment is Senior
Airman Zachariah Lewis. As a civilian carpenter and contractor, he
brought many of the skills necessary to finish renovating the treatment
Yet Lewis is also completing back-to-back international deployments,
having just returned from Vietnam in a similar role with Oregon's State
Partnership Program. Oregon also has Bangladesh as its state partner.
When Lay asked for volunteers to be project leads the first day on site, Lewis immediately stepped up.
"I was confident that I can bring my knowledge to the team, and teach them how to do the job," Lewis said.
He quickly put together a group of six to eight Airmen to finish paint
scraping, plaster repair and eventually painting the water damaged
treatment rooms and connecting main hallway.
"I work a lot with general contractors and typically know how the work
flow goes, and have a sense for how the end results need to be," Lewis
Touring the project during the final week, Macanu was visibly happy when
he inspected how the final part of the project was coming together.
"I wish that we could have our American friends come back and work on
other projects in the future that need more work," he said.
During the two-weeks the 142nd CES spent repairing the clinic, citizens
of Mangalia watched the work in passing with wonder and often smiles as
the work progressed. A new and growing sense of camaraderie as well as a
heightened willingness between the Air Guardsmen and citizens of
Mangalia, Romania, began to develop in with the progress made on the
Since becoming a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member in
2004, Romania has continued to foster better affiliations with partner
nations. As the project concluded, a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, on
May 20, allowed U.S. and Romanian officials the opportunity to highlight
this shared bond, as U.S. Charge d'Affairs ad interim Dean Thompson and
the mayor of Mangalia, Romania, Radu Cristian, celebrated the
renovation to Pavilion C.
"It is a gift from the American people to the citizens of Mangalia and
the surrounding towns, villages and communities. Better healthcare leads
to better outcomes and will help the future of the region to grow and
prosper," said Thompson.
The deployments are an important aspect to sustain a positive U.S.
military presence while preparing National Guardsmen to stay prepared to
perform their mission; whether home or aboard.
"By building partnerships within these communities this has been a great
training opportunity through the DFT program, while at the same time it
has also been a chance to broaden our influence throughout Europe,"
said Patrick Considine, HCA program manager for EUCOM.
Meeting the 142nd CES Airmen on hand for the ceremony, Considine praised
the knowledge, the skill and professionalism, which contributed to the
success of this project.
"Hopefully we can replicate what you guys did here, going forward with
the next 20 HCA projects slated for this season, it will be tough to
match because your team really knocked it way out of the park,"