Community partnerships important for 5th Civil Engineer Squadron

Submitted Photo Firefighters with the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot Air Force Base load a fire hose onto a fire truck at the base on March 18, shown in this photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Leveille. From fire hoses to axes, firefighters use various tools to accomplish their mission.

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – The work of the 475 members of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot Air Force Base ranges from maintenance and repair of infrastructure to emergency response functions. Community partners are an important part of the unit as well.

Comprised of 335 military members and 140 civilians, the squadron entails several areas: engineering, operations, installation management, readiness and emergency management, explosive ordnance disposal and fire emergency services. Lt. Col. Matthew Altman is squadron commander and Renetta Pearson, deputy base civil engineer.

“We can’t do what we do without the tremendous partnerships we have with so many organizations in this area,” Altman told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee recently.

Not only do they have primetime utilities – electric natural gas, water, wastewater utilities – but they partner with all the local emergency response and other organizations as well.

Community partners include:

– Utilities

Verendrye Electric

Montana-Dakota Utilities

North Prairie Rural Water Association

Base Utilities

City of Minot

– Housing

Balfour Beatty Communities

– Encroachment

Minot Area Chamber of Commerce

Ward County Planning Commission

Task Force 21

Souris Basin Planning Commission

– Project Design/Construction

Local Architects, Engineers and Surveyors

Local Contractors

– Defense Access Roads

North Dakota Department of Transportation

Ward County Highway Department

-Emergency Services

Local Law Enforcement

Local Fire Department

County Emergency Management

“On the emergency response side, we rely heavily on our partnerships across the local area and across the entire state. We have 26 mutual aid agreements with local fire departments throughout the entire state,” Altman said. He said they especially rely on the local fire departments for initial response in the missile field.

Partnerships are formed to provide for each other if needed. “Quite honestly if an emergency happens it’s not when it happens that you have to have those partnerships formed,” Altman said.

The squadron’s Readiness & Emergency Management unit works with the Ward County Office of Emergency Management. They have assisted with the Minot International Airport exercise and hosted nuclear weapon incident response training with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), FBI, Department of Energy and local partners.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron covers a 200-mile radius and is the only active-duty EOD unit in North Dakota. The unit’s work also includes roundtable/workshop with local law enforcement and FBI special agent bomb technicians, mentored 240 students through Minot Public School’s STARBASE program. The unit has displayed equipment at Minot’s “Festival on Main” and supported “Take Back the Night,” MSU’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program.