88 CEG “dominates the dirty work” every day

  • Published
  • By Matthew Clouse
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Whether its turning wrenches, operating heavy machinery or fighting fires, the 644 employees of the 88th Civil Engineer Group “dominate the dirty work” every day.

“644 sounds like a lot, but it’s not to take care of a base of this magnitude,” said Amir Mott, 88 CEG deputy director.

The group is responsible for maintaining 610 buildings, 8,145 acres, and 18.9 million square feet of airfield pavement for more than 115 mission partners.

“When I was at Ramstein Air Base, which is 4,500 acres smaller than Wright-Patt, their civil engineer group had more than 1,300 employees,” said Steven Vincent, 88 CEG director. “But I’ve said for a long time that an under-resourced, high-morale workforce will get more work done than a highly resourced low-morale workforce. Amir and I get out to the shops and see people. And when they know who you are and know you care about them and what they're doing, it makes a difference. This is a CE family.”

The group is one of three in the 88th Air Base Wing and traces its lineage back to 1949. Its mission is to “be the best civil engineering organization in the Air Force by providing quality facility and infrastructure systems and premier customer service for all members of the Wright-Patterson Team.”

To accomplish this, the group is broken into four divisions/squadrons:

788th Civil Engineer Squadron

The squadron consists of three flights and 127 personnel. The Fire Emergency Services Flight provides fire prevention and protection, firefighting, rescue and hazardous materials response capabilities to prevent or minimize injury, loss of life and damage to property and the environment. That support also extends beyond the fenceline; fifteen percent of response calls are to off-base jurisdictions such as Beavercreek, Fairborn, Riverside and many others.  

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight secures and disposes of all military munitions discovered within a 5-state region, providing Defense Support to Civil Authorities to local law enforcement and other responders in a 196,000 square mile area. 

The Emergency Management Flight develops, plans and trains personnel to meet mission needs and minimize casualties in the event of a natural disaster or man-made disaster because of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident.

Installation Management Division

The division consists of three branches and 69 employees. The Asset Accountability Branch integrates the mission-essential support functions of financial management, human resources, information systems and real property accountability to maximize the effectiveness of the 88th Civil Engineer Group.

The Environmental Branch ensures installation functions remain in compliance with federal, state, local, Department of Defense and Air Force environmental regulations and policies by establishing environmental compliance plans, administering environmental programs and coordinating environmental protection requirements for Wright-Patt.   

Within the Environmental Branch is the Air Force Radioactive Recycling and Disposal Office. They are the Air Force’s primary focal point for low-level radioactive recycling and low-level mixed waste management and provide radioactive material recycling for the Department of Defense. In 2022, they won a Secretary of Defense award for their excellence in “dominating the dirty work”.

“They don’t work with items like nuclear weapons; it’s mainly aircraft instruments such as radium dials,” Vincent said. “Also, the Navy will send chemical detectors found on ships and AFRRAD will recycle those parts.”

 The Housing Management Branch provides housing, dormitory and furnishings management for 100 government owned houses, 1,536 privatized houses and six dormitories.

Engineering Division

The division consists of two branches, Portfolio Optimization and Project Management, and 102 personnel. Its mission is to provide agile strategic planning, project programming design and construction management, energy management and accurate geospatial recordation to support Wright-Patt customers' missions.

Their big base plans for 2023 and beyond include construction projects on Air Force Materiel Command headquarters, a new child development center and 29 on-base government housing units.

88th Civil Engineer Squadron

The squadron consists of four branches--Operations Engineering, Facility Systems, Heavy Repair and Infrastructure Systems--and has the most personnel, 346, in 88 CEG. Its mission is to operate, maintain and repair Wright-Patt facilities effectively and efficiently--a difficult task when the average age of the facilities on base are 57 years old.

“When you look at all these old facilities and the limited dollars that we get to sustain all of that, it gets very taxing on a limited workforce,” Mott said. “Our folks do a great job of making lemonade out of lemons and doing the best that they can.”  

The Future of 88 CEG

Vincent says for the group to continue “dominating the dirty work,” they must keep partnering with trade schools and investing in apprentices, interns and other young Airmen to carry the mission further.  

“We need to reinvigorate our workforce,” Vincent said. “Many of our personnel look like Amir and me. They’re a little older; they’ve been doing this for a while. One of the things I talk about with the team is that part of our job is to grow our replacements so that we have people ready for upward mobility and to keep the workforce young and invigorated.”