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145th Civil Engineer’s Train While Serving the Community

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th AW/PA
There's nothing new about a roomful of guys playing video games. But for members of the 145th Civil Engineer Squadron, North Carolina Air National Guard one video game can be used to sharpen techniques, tactics and skills which contribute significantly to the combat readiness of civil engineers. Each airman plays a special role -- be it driver, truck commander or supervisor when it comes to using heavy equipment. Using joysticks, they hunch over computers in clusters meant to simulate operating everything from trenching with a hydraulic excavator to moving heavy objects with a clamshell bucket on the front-end of a loader.

Many airmen, both active duty and guard come from units around the country to train with the 145th Civil Engineer Squadron at the Regional Training Site in New London, N.C. Recently this included a two week training exercise with Norwegian military cadets from the Krigskolen Academy in Norway. The unique connection between the NCANG and the local community college has expanded the training opportunities through the use of their heavy equipment training simulators.

The 145th Civil Engineer Squadron has been a partner with Stanly Community Colleges Heavy Equipment Operations program since the summer of 2009. The NCANG first pioneered the perimeter of the site and installed all of the erosion control devices including the diversion ditches, silt fence, check dams, and silt pond. After the erosion control devices were installed the NCANG proceeded to grade approximately 40,000 cubic yards of dirt and level 15 acres of heavily wooded land to prepare it so students could start classes in the fall semester of 2009.

"Helping the college build their heavy equipment training site was a lot of hard work," said Tech. Sgt. Matt Johnston, an instructor and member of 145th CES, "But it was also an excellent opportunity for training. We were able to build a relationship with the college that we highly value here at the Regional Training Site. Being able to use the heavy equipment computer simulators at the college has been an asset to us. We also enjoy it when their students are brought here to the RTS to see how the military side conducts training. I think we have a very unique relationship that can only continue to get better."

Lt. Col. Tim Moran, Deputy Commander, 145th Civil Engineer Squadron said that working with Stanly County Community College was definitely a win-win situation.

"It started with us helping to construct their heavy equipment training area." Moran said,

"Through the construction our operators gained invaluable real-world hands on operating experience and the college ended up with a first class training area. We've enjoy the continuing partnership as the college allows us to use their training simulator and their students come to our site to see how we train. Maybe in the future this exposure could lead some students to joining the North Carolina Air National Guard."

In closing Mr. Josh Aldridge, Stanly Community College Head Manager for of the Heavy Equipment Program stated, "The successful completion of the hands on equipment lab could not have happened without the help of the North Carolina Air National Guard. Had it not been for the quality work of the NCANG in this project Stanly Community College would not have been able to serve students. After the completion of the heavy equipment lab our partnership with NCANG has continued to grow. It is a great asset to Stanly Community College to have a civil engineer squadron located here in Stanly County. Currently SCC is the only heavy equipment operations training school in the state. We proudly share the use of our heavy equipment simulation lab with the NCANG and we look forward to keeping our growing partnership for many years to come."