Ramstein Air Base Silver Flag exercise focuses on airfield damage repair

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

***image1*** U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen recently came together here for a Silver Flag deployment training exercise, conducted by the 86th Construction and Training Squadron.

The exercise was broken into different segments according to Air Force Specialty Codes, and airfield damage repair was a much-focused segment.

Members from many AFSCs worked together to repair a damaged airfield, making it suitable for aircraft to land. Personnel worked eight- to 10-hour days to make the operation a success.

“It’s really important that everyone participating in the exercise learns every aspect of this operation,” said Capt. Matt Schroeder, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, from Royal Air Force Lakenheath.

“We gave them extra time with their duties throughout the repair process to ensure everyone is learning and will be equipped with the skills needed for a real-world situation in a deployed location.”

Trainees were faced with several issues before they could even start repair.
After notification that there was runway damage, all necessary crews where gathered to put the project in motion. Engineering assistants informed crews which craters in the runway must be repaired first. Shortly after, the installation of aircraft arresting systems began, followed by set up of runway lighting by electricians.

“This is a bare-base operation,” said Captain Schroeder. “Our crews start with nothing and work to create a suitable runway to land our Air Force aircraft on.”

By the end of the operation, training instructors evaluated the project and informed each crew what their strong points were and what areas they felt could be worked on.

“This is my first time to participate in this exercise,” said Airman Andrew Sanders, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base. “I feel so much more confident for my upcoming deployment.”