With a backlog of work orders, CE helps get things done

  • Published
  • By Peter Borys
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

As any homeowner can tell you, if you don’t take care of needed repairs in a timely manner the little things can add up.

The same statement holds true for an air force base. Four members of the 914th Civil Engineering Squadron were recently put on 120 day orders working in conjunction with base contract employees to help alleviate the back log of work order repairs to many of the base facilities.

Normally, any repair work is handled by a Base Operating Services (BOS) Contractor who have skilled tradesmen to do repair work and smaller construction projects.

So why the back log?

According to Col. Christopher Witter, 914th Mission Support Group commander who is in charge of all support and facilities for the 914th Air Refueling Wing said, the main reason was funding, because of what happened to Tyndall AFB from Hurricane Michael (October 2018) & flooding at Offut AFB (March 2019). 

Nearly $5 billion in the air force budget had to be redirected to rebuild and repair the extensive damage that was caused by those two natural disasters. That left many air force installations short on funding.

“There just wasn’t enough money last year to buy the materials we needed,” said Witter.  “We had the manpower to get it done, but just didn’t have the funds to procure the materials. Now we have the funds, but a limited amount of time. If we plus up the manpower we can get the backlog done in a short amount of time,” explained the colonel.

The 914th Civil Engineering Squadron team helping to eliminate that back log is headed by Senior Master Sgt. Guy Travis, Engineering Superintendent, Tech. Sgt. Stephen Barone, HVAC Craftsman, Tech. Sgt. Lee Kassay, and Senior Airman Timothy Lynch, Structural Systems Technicians.

These individuals bring with them to their job a wealth of knowledge from their civilian employment. Travis, an engineering technician for the Alleghany National Forest; Barone, a firefighter with the Niagara Falls Fire Department; Kassay, a self-employed finishing carpenter; and Lynch, construction laborer.

By having them concentrate on the miscellaneous work orders it frees up the BOS Contractor to perform maintenance and repairs on much larger time consuming work orders.  The reservists have already managed to put a dent in the backlog.

According to Col. Witter, his biggest concern was to get the backlog taken care of quickly.

“It comes down to a quality of life issue. If you’re in a office for four months and the lightbulbs are burnt out or the bathroom down the hall isn’t working, that starts to effect morale, and that’s why I really pushed to get the CE troop labor out here and why the wing commander is completely on board.”

Overtime for the contractors was a consideration, but said Witter “It’s about safety and being able to get it done without creating a situation where we could have an accident from working too many long hours.  CE troop labor is always an option, always a resource we can use.”

The back log is expected to be cleared up by March-April.