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By Fiona Truant, staff writer, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
/ Published November 16, 2021
Engineers with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron’s Execution Support shop stand atop a section of the Colorado Thirty Group running track on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, which they surveyed for revision Nov. 8, 2021. While the Colorado Thirty Group track needed to be restructured to allow for the construction of a new Special Operations Command North facility, the Execution Support shop used it as an opportunity to provide hands-on training for its staff, seven of nine of whom were fresh out of tech school.
The 21st Civil Engineer Squadron has completed initial work to restructure the Thirty Group track, a dirt running track at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 20, 2021. Located near Peterson SFB’s North Gate, the track was re-engineered to make space for the construction of a new Special Operations Command North facility, which is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2022.
“Half the track needed to be taken away in order for construction to happen,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Corey Griffin, 21st CES non-commissioned officer in charge of pavements and heavy equipment, more commonly known as the Dirt Boyz. “Execution support came out and surveyed the area that we, as the Dirt Boyz, came out and graded.”
21st CES’s execution support shop mainly act as stewards of engineering data for their operating area — Peterson SFB itself, in this case — so much of their direct support work involves mapping or delivering floor plans.
“We surveyed the entire track itself, and then we brought that into AutoCA, which is automatic computer-aided drafting,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Scott Wyckoff, 21st CES Execution Support shop engineer. “We laid out specific points that we wanted to come back to, and the program gave us a specific location of where we needed to place a stake. That was able to give a location and a curve for the Dirt Boyz to come out and know exactly what they had to do.”
This project also served as hands-on training with surveying technology, as seven of the nine Airmen came to Peterson fresh out of tech school.
“We definitely want to make them deployment ready,” said U.S. Staff Sgt. Jamal Long, 21st CES Execution Support shop engineer. “We deploy often, so why not get them on something that, in real life, they could be doing outside the wire at some point?”
“As an engineer, you don’t know what’s going to be coming your way, so you need to have a lot of adaptability,” said Wyckoff. “One day, you’re going to be working on staking out a project in the field, and another day, you could be back in the office doing geographic information systems work. You never know what’s going to come your way.”
Long and Wyckoff say that training the Airmen has been going well so far, calling them quick to learn and motivated.
While work on the track has reached a stopping point, the track is not yet complete. The Dirt Boyz have cut into the ground, moved dirt that couldn’t be used for the track’s foundation, added reclaimed asphalt and compacted the ground to form a sturdy foundation. This new section of track still needs to be topped with red breeze rock. It will fall to the Execution Support shop to calculate the amount of rock needed for the project using their surveying resources.
“Once we go into the next fiscal year, we will be able to purchase the correct amount [of red breeze rock] to go over the millings to make it match what’s on the existing track,” said Griffin. “That’s why we put the reclaimed asphalt down in the meantime, so it’s still a good surface for people to walk on if they want to.”