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Power Production, 931st Civil Engineer Squadron
Master Sgt. Ed Craig (right) and Senior Airman Jason Garcia look for battery terminals inside a 931st Civil Engineer Squadron storage area during the November Unit Training Assembly. Both Airmen are Reservists assigned to the CES shop that maintains generators and other equipment used for providing electrical power in deployed and other field conditions. Their squadron is part of the 931st Air Refueling Group, an Air Force Reserve unit at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason Schaap)
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CES shop producing power, looking for more

Posted 11/20/2008   Updated 11/20/2008 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Jason Schaap
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

11/20/2008 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Kansas may mean "People of the South Wind," but two Reserve Airmen recently received a bitter cold reminder that north winds like to visit Kansas too.

Master Sgt. Ed Craig and Senior Airman Jason Garcia were among the 931st Air Refueling Group members greeted by a frigid air blast when they showed up for the Group's November Unit Training Assembly on Nov. 15.

But Sergeant Craig and Airman Garcia had more than a walk from their vehicles to get acquainted with the notorious Kansas winds. Soon after signing in with their unit, the 931st Civil Engineer Squadron, they were back outside to see how power equipment was fairing the weather.

Sergeant Craig and Airman Garcia are power production engineers. When electrical power is needed in remote locations, its Airmen like them that supply it. And when it turns cold, their attention often turns toward the car-type batteries that power their equipment.

"We thought we would be able to get that going," Airman Garcia said, looking at portable welding machine in the CES parking lot. "But the battery is (empty)."

He and Sergeant Craig spent much of the cold morning charging up low batteries and replacing dead ones. "It's training," Sergeant Craig said, "(at the same time) it's something that needs to be done."

Sergeant Craig is the supervisor of the power production shop and he's looking for help. He already had vacant positions when one of his Airmen recently accepted a commission. Staff Sgt. Jason Sommers, 931st recruiter, said filling the power production vacancies is now part of his high priority list.

Variety can be the spice of life for a power production engineer, Sergeant Craig said. His shop can provide power for a bivouac one UTA and then, during another, power an inflatable moonwalk for the 931st's annual Family Day Picnic.

A lesser-known responsibility of the job is providing power for aircraft arresting systems, devices used to absorb momentum and stop aircraft during emergency landings or takeoffs. The systems are not used by the KC-135 Stratotankers native to McConnell Air Force Base.

"We have to go elsewhere for that training," Sergeant Craig said.

A desire to travel is something CES leaders look for. Engineers tend to be called to work in all corners of the globe. Currently, 931st CES Airmen are gearing up for an anticipated deployment in 2010.

Sergeant Craig and Airman Garcia expect to deploy with their fellow engineers. They don't know where to yet, but they hope to have more 931st power producers there with them.

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