301st Civil Engineer Squadron commander prepares to deploy with United States Army

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ted Luke
  • 301st Civil Engineer Squadron
It's an honor to have been selected to command the 301st Civil Engineer Squadron. This squadron has a sustained history of excellence in Prime BEEF (Base Engineer Emergency Force). I was due to assume command of the 301st CES this UTA, however, I am deploying to Iraq with the 810th Civil Engineer Flight on a specialized mission in support of the U.S. Army. The Army has requested Air Force engineers to supplement their ranks on taskings throughout Southwest Asia. 

Air Force Reserve engineers are well known in the joint forces community for their superior engineering knowledge and experience. AF Reserve CE Prime BEEF teams bring years of experience which cannot be found in the active duty military. The other services are always glad to see us when we arrive. Many of our engineers are professionally registered and our Prime BEEF teams have experienced journeymen and craftsmen who are the best in the business at their respective trades. 

Since the start of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM, Air Force engineers have been fulfilling requirements by augmenting the Army in various capacities. These Army engineer requirements have been translated into our Air Force Specialty Codes so Air Force members can fill these taskings "in-lieu-of" (ILO) the Army. Some of the most common ILO Army teams are Facility Engineer Team (FET), Facility Engineer Detachment (FED) and Utility Detachment. Other Air Force specialties, Security Forces and Transportation, have been called to ILO Army missions. 

Working within the Army is a great experience, you have to be able to adapt to their culture and method of mission accomplishment. Once you do you become an integral part of the team. 

I deploy with prior joint experience working with the U.S. Army. I was an Air Liaison Officer in a Tactical Air Control party for several years before coming to the CE career field. I advised Army commanders in the battlefield on the use of Close Air Support (CAS). I enjoyed the mission and the opportunity to support the Army and their mission objectives with airpower. 

I was called on again to support the U.S. Army in 2005 on an ILO Army engineering tasking in Iraq. I was assigned to an Army Facility Engineer team at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, to support U.S. Marine operations. 

Our mission was base master planning and development. It was the best place to be --Air Force Reserve supporting the Army who was tasked to provide support to the Marines -- a true joint mission. 

The 301st CES also had a small presence on this deployment. Senior Master Sgt. Darlies Howard, 301st CES engineering section NCOIC, deployed with our team. I was immediately impressed with this sergeant and her engineering abilities. She is a true professional senior NCO and very typical of the dedicated men and women of the 301st CES. 

I look forward to commanding the 301st Civil Engineer Squadron. I have met many of the unit's members and have seen a wealth of prior military experience from all branches of the armed forces. This adds value to our engineering squadron and the Air Force.
I've been impressed with the level of dedication of the 301st CES men and women. This unit was recognized as the Air Force Reserve Command's Best Civil Engineer Squadron of the Year for 2005. 

I'm currently assigned to the 810th Civil Engineer Flight based here at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth Carswell Field, Texas. The 810th CEF is a unit of highly experienced Prime BEEF engineers who specialize in staff augmentation missions and an outstanding unit, the best Prime BEEF staff augmentation team in the business. 

One of the best aspects about this deployment is the opportunity to lead the young men and women of our armed forces and to witness their level of dedication and devotion to duty in accomplishing any mission -- it is inspiring! I will assume command of the 301st Civil Engineer Squadron upon my return from this ILO Army deployment. The 301st CES will be commanded by Capt. Bill Wilkinson in my absence.
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