WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – While snow plowing and national defense strategy may not seem to share anything in common, the mission down range would fall flat without the 88th Civil Engineer Squadron’s willingness to do the dirty work.
88th CEO Mission: Operate, maintain and repair the base
88th CEO Vision: To make Wright-Patt a better place to work, live and play
88th CEO Airmen arguably get the dirtiest as they carry out the 88th Air Base Wing commander’s charge to “dominate the dirty work.”
CEO is comprised of four branches:
- CEOF - facility systems
- CEOH - heavy repair
- CEOI - infrastructure systems
- CEOE - operations engineering
On a daily basis, this squadron embodies the 88 ABW’s motto “strength through support” by maintaining the base’s critical infrastructures, which enables Wright-Patt's 35,000 employees and 115 mission partners to accomplish their work every day.
The 88th Facility Systems branch manages the lighting, electrical and fire alarm systems at Wright-Patt.
From the fluorescent bulbs illuminating our offices to the runway lights keeping airfield operations safe, all lighting on the base falls under their purview. CEOF manages and maintains both standard electrical systems and high-voltage transformers. Standard electrical includes outlets and switches, which are found in offices and work centers across the base. Transformers power heating, cooling and larger electrical systems for facilities like the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters building.
CEOF seeks to not only maintain but also to improve the base by using more efficient resources. For example, they are in the process of replacing overhead florescent lights to more efficient LED panels in buildings throughout the base. The new panels are remarkably thin and lightweight, about one-third the size and weight of the florescent lights. LED electricity consumption is very low, and the switch is expected to save energy costs in the long run.
“It’s almost like getting free light, it’s so efficient,” said Mark Rauch, 88th CEOF branch chief.
They also provide generators for mission-critical base operations and events such as the Pumpkin Chuck, Air Force Marathon and community receptions.
“We hope that we do our work in such a way that you never knew we were there,” Rauch said.
CEOH / Heavy Repair
The 88th Heavy Repair branch is responsible for everything from roofs to roads on the installation. This team mows grass, plows snow, maintains roads, builds sidewalks, repairs roofs, builds fences, installs signs and much more. If it is vertical or horizontal, the heavy repair team gets after it.
- Carpenter shop
- Metal shop
- Paint shop
- Grounds and heavy equipment shop
“We’re behind the scenes but critical to everyone’s comfort level,” said Greg Wheelock, 88th CEOH branch chief.
CEOI / Infrastructure Systems
The 88th Infrastructure Systems branch takes care of heating and cooling, plumbing and pest control on base.
Two plumbing shops install, maintain, repair and replace all plumbing fixtures and fire suppression systems for buildings on the installation.
The HVAC shops keeps Wright-Patt warm in the winter and cool in the summer by controlling the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Switching from heating to cooling, or vice versa, in commercial buildings is much different than simply flicking a switch at home, and the process can take up to two weeks.
Older HVAC systems, like those in many buildings on Wright-Patt, cannot heat and cool at the same time. These are being replaced with newer energy monitoring control systems. Eighty-five percent of the base’s buildings are controlled with EMCS which allows technicians to remotely monitor and control temperature down to the room.
“We know what the temperature is, whatever room you’re in with an EMCS thermostat,” said Mick Dent, 88th CEOI branch chief.
CEOI is also responsible for mosquito control and trapping stray dogs, groundhogs, foxes and skunks.
CEOE / Operations Engineering
The 88th Operations Engineering branch supports management and material acquisition processes for all work within CEO.
- Requirements and optimization
- Materiel control
- Service contracts
R&O determines the best course of action for a particular repair or construction project outside of the scope of a particular shop. They process about 36,000 service requests per year. It is broken into three subgroups:
- Helpdesk and planners
- Technicians, preventative maintenance, building specific project planning and assets management
- Mechanical, electrical and civil engineers
Materiel control oversees and maintains the acquisition of parts and equipment, storehouse management and vehicle fleet management for the squadron. In short, they ‘get the stuff’ so the other shops can complete their missions.
Contracting handles 26 custodial, integrated solid waste management and critical equipment maintenance service contracts. This includes dumpsters, custodians and elevators.
“We keep the finger on the pulse of all of the assets at Wright-Patt,” said Don Fosnight, 88th CEOE branch chief. “We understand the priority of the work and where we need to apply the limited funds to the right asset at the right time.”
Strength Through Support and beyond
CEO’s dedicated record of supporting the wing and its mission partners exemplifies the 88th ABW commander’s strategic plan and its three lines of effort by providing top-notch services to the installation and ensuring that systems and infrastructure enable the base community, mission partners and Airmen to succeed at home and down range. Through their mostly behind-the-scenes mission, they truly “dominate the dirty work.”