21st CES provides unsurpassed installation support

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Last week we received some great news that our 21st Civil Engineer Squadron won the 2007 "Maj. Gen. Robert H. Curtin Award" in the small unit category. This is awarded to the most outstanding civil engineer unit in the Air Force with less than 550 military and civilian members. This award truly validates the hard work and dedication the men and women of 21st CES have demonstrated over the past year. Furthermore, it confirms what we in the 21st Space Wing have known for quite some time ... our civil engineers are the best in the Air Force.
 
The award committee evaluated five separate areas, to include expeditionary engineering, installation engineering, environmental leadership, housing excellence and emergency services prior to naming the winner. In each instance, the amazing achievements of the 21st CES stood out. I'd like to highlight just a small sample of the unit's accomplishments in these areas, each of which helped the unit capture this prestigious award. 

Expeditionary Engineering: The squadron made significant contributions in the Global War on Terror with their downrange support in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the course of the year, while deploying 75 percent of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, 21st CES superbly executed 120 combat missions and neutralized 200 improvised explosive devices. In addition, 21st CES provided 15,000 man hours in support of local air expeditionary force exercises ensuring more than 500 wing members were deployment ready. 

Installation Engineering: The 21st CES played a significant role in several, large scale projects throughout the 21st SW. From the completion of the new $34 million base exchange/commissary complex and the $12.7 million West Gate project on Peterson AFB all the way to building a $19.5 million dormitory at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, there are numerous examples where the squadron's initiatives both modernized and preserved base infrastructures and facilities.
 
Environmental Leadership: The squadron contributed to a Secretary of the Air Force-level project by overseeing the construction of an environmentally friendly "green roof" on Peterson, the first green roof on an Air Force base in the contiguous United States.
Housing Excellence: Our civil engineers paved the way for the smooth transition to privatized housing by developing a close partnership with Actus Lend Lease and Tierra Vista Communities. Beginning in the spring, a six-year development effort begins with the construction of 597 new homes and a community center along with the renovation of 55 existing homes. Leadership from the 21st CES in this area ensures quality of life on Peterson remains high for many years to come. 

Emergency Services: Teams from the 21st CES provided exceptional support not only for incidents occurring on Peterson, but also for those taking place in the surrounding community. Whether it was assisting local officials from Ellicott, Colo. in containing a wild land fire, sending fire department units to the Colorado Springs airport after a bomb threat or responding to an on-board aircraft fire on the flightline, 21st CES personnel demonstrated the utmost professionalism and competence at all times. 

As you can see from these accomplishments, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron made a significant contribution throughout 2007 in the wing's ability to provide unsurpassed installation support ... that level of support continues in 2008. For example, the 21st CES (in conjunction with the 21st Services Squadron) continues its work in getting the base swimming pool back into operation. Although the contractor has until April to complete the project, we currently project the pool to be open in the late February / early March timeframe. I have no doubt the entire base population will be extremely pleased with this new facility thanks to the efforts of our civil engineers. 

Once again, congratulations to the 21st CES for being recognized as the best small unit civil engineer squadron in the Air Force. I know they are looking forward to formally receiving the award at the 45th Annual Civil Engineer Awards Luncheon in February. Their motto, "Proud to serve, ready to fight" is clearly evident in all they accomplished last year and continue to accomplish this year.