‘Never Daunted’ Battalion recertifies Marine Corps airfield

| July 28, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Jose Vasquez (left), Spc. Chad Fulfrod, and Spc. Robert Badtke (right), all technical engineers with the 142nd Survey and Design Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, work together to recertify the airfield at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kanehoe Bay. (Capt. Christopher Ren | 84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Sgt. Jose Vasquez (left), Spc. Chad Fulfrod, and Spc. Robert Badtke (right), all technical engineers with the 142nd Survey and Design Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, work together to recertify the airfield at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kanehoe Bay. (Capt. Christopher Ren | 84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

2nd Lt. Andrew Primo
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

Engineers assist NGA, relearn lost skill set

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — The airfield, here, which services both U.S. Marine and Air Force aircraft, was recently recertified by engineers in the 142nd Survey and Design Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

Military airfields require recertification every five years, due to new construction and the natural movement of the earth’s surface.

“I am happy to be doing this work again. This is what I joined the Army to do,” said Sgt. Jose Vazquez, 142nd Survey and Design Det. “This training will open many doors to do (overseas) missions (and assist) gestational organizations all over the Pacific region.”

The process of recertifying an airfield includes gathering GPS and elevation data on all obstructions, or anything that would interfere with the glide path of aircraft, within seven nautical miles of the airfield.

Here, those obstructions include hangers near the runways and a large mountain range with satellite antenna on its ridgeline.

Once the 142nd Survey and Design Det. gathered its land data, the detachment compiled it and sent it to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which works directly with the Federal Aviation Administration to issue recertifications.

This mission came after the 130th Eng. Bde. approached NGA and requested assistance retraining its technical engineers on the skill set that was lost with the merging of two military occupational skills.

As a result of this collaboration between the military and NGA, the 142nd Survey and Design Det. received valuable training on its Trimble 5600 surveying equipment, which is a machine that gathers GPS locations and precise elevation measurements of landmarks.

NGA gained a partner to help recertify airfields in the Pacific region.

On average, NGA recertifies about 35 airfields, per year, which costs $100,000 to pay civilian surveying crews. Using an Army asset to recertify the military’s own airfields is a good cost-cutting measure.

The team of Soldiers is currently working with NGA instructors to sharpen their surveying skills. The detachment expects to have the airfield, here, finished within a 30-day window. Once team members become more efficient, the team expects to be able to accomplish the same scope of work in 15 days.

“I’m really glad to be out here learning a fast and proficient method of surveying airfields,” said Spc. Arnaldo Lopez, 142nd Survey and Design Det. “These are very valuable skills that are needed in the civilian sector.”

 

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