Essential to mission

Civil engineer squadron helps base in many ways

Members of the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot Air Force Base flatten concrete for a sidewalk at Minot Air Force Base, June 29, 2017, shown in this photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan McElderry. Civil Engineer airmen use various equipment when remodeling the sidewalk, from fresno trowels to curing compounds. Submitted Photo

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – They plan, design and direct construction of buildings and structures, provide emergency services and snow removal, manage real property assets and other work essential to the mission at Minot Air Force Base and in the Minot missile field.

The 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot Air Force Base is made up of seven flights, according to Lt. Col. William G. Frost, commander:

– Emergency Services includes Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, Emergency Management Flight and Fire and Emergency Services Flight.

– Asset Management includes Installation Management Flight (management of all real property assets).

– Public Works includes Operations Flight.

– Engineering includes two unique to Minot AFB: base Engineering Flight and Missile Engineering Flight, the latter for the assets on the missile field.

“We couldn’t do this job without all the great partnerships that we have across the spectrum. Frost told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee.

“We have our utilities which are all privatized,” he added. The utilities and housing include Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Montana Dakota Utilities, North Prairie Rural Water Association, Base utilities and the city of Minot.

He said they couldn’t have the accesses that they have without their encroachment partners, naming the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, Ward County Planning Commission, Minot’s base retention and new mission committee Task Force 21, and Souris Basin Planning Commission.

He said they couldn’t do business without their local architects, engineers and surveyors, and local contractors along with other community partners. Other community partners include for emergency services – local law enforcement, local fire departments and county emergency management; and the North Dakota Department of Transportation and Ward County Highway Department for Defense Access Roads in the missile field.

Construction is among the work of the 5th Civil Service Squadron at Minot Air Force Base.

The base and missile field have $121.4 million in on-going construction projects – projects in-construction, in-design and awaiting award.

Current construction includes:

– $3.8 million maintenance training facility scheduled for completion in May.

– $1.7 million fence project in the missile field. Some areas have been completed. The entire project is scheduled for completion in August.

On the airfield side of the house, extensive work has been done on the airfield since 2013, Frost said. This past 2017, work on the Alpha Hammer Head, a $4.9 million project, wrapped up and phase one of the mass parking apron, a $4 million project.

He said said they’re now working into phase two of the mass parking apron, a $7.7 million project. The estimated completion time of the mass parking apron project is July 2023. The project, to replace 60-year-old original concrete has a total cost of $100 million.

A $40 million project to completely renovate the base medical facility is underway, with an estimated complete date of September 2020. This project is not managed by the Civil Engineer Squadron. Hospital offices and services have temporarily adjacent to the medical facility while the renovation work is done.

Completed projects include:

– $17.6 million B-52 aircraft maintenance facility. The project wrapped up earlier this year, with a grand opening held in January. Frost said the facility consolidates the five aircraft maintenance squadron functions into a single facility.

– An $8.7 million project to renovate an older dormitory with shared bathrooms to private bathrooms.

– A $5.7 million project to renovate another 5th Bomb Wing facility.

Future construction projects, in design or designed, include renovating an existing multi-purpose hangar to fully enclose a B-52 (estimated $10-15 million); construct indoor firing range (estimated cost $20-25 million); and the helicopter facility (estimated $60-70 million).

The following Minot Air Force Base priorities were all included in the fiscal year 2018 funding bill, according to Sen. John Hoeven. The funding for the projects passed Congress and has been signed into law recently. The projects are as follows, according to Hoeven:

– $451 million for the long-range stand off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging air-launched cruise missile carried on the B-52.

– $399 million to refurbish the W80-4 warhead for use on the nation’s new nuclear cruise missile.

– $221 million for upgrades to the B-52.

– $216 million to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

– $109 million to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

– $27 million for the new firing range.

A new helicopter complex costing $66 million is part of the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, according to Hoeven.