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Civil Engineer Citizen-Airmen volunteers wire 203 workstations

JEFFERSON BARRACKS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo -- Twenty-two Citizen-Airmen from the 131st Civil Engineer Squadron recently volunteered to complete the network infrastructure installation in historic building 29 to ensure timeliness of the building’s renovation.

The volunteers accomplished the installation of approximately 19 miles of network cable, 812 ports and 203 drops for individual workstations in less than half the time predicted for completion by an Air National Guard engineering and installation team. These teams are responsible for the engineering, installation, modification, relocation and removal of ground-based, non-mobile communications, radar, and aeronautical navigation systems for the Air Force and Air National Guard.

When the time came for the install, the Air National Guard E&I team was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts, which allowed the 131st CES to take on the assignment of the network infrastructure installation.

One-third of the 131st CES’ Airmen volunteered on short notice for the installation, saving approximately $30,000 in labor costs, according to Maj. Daniel Nelsen, 131st CES commander.

The 131st CES team finished the installation in just 12 days; the estimate for the Air National Guard E&I team was between 30-60 days.

“There is an appreciation for what is possible with the right attitude and the right people leading and working on a project,” said Nelsen about the timely and precise completion of the install.

Nelson said the installation was challenging due to the confined, narrow spaces and high ceilings of the four-floor historic building.

Building 29 was originally constructed in 1891. Through its renovation, it has retained its historical configuration. The size of the building, 24,806-square-feet, would be equivalent to wiring average 16 homes

This task was different than others the 131st CES had completed, explained Master Sgt. Douglas Blase, 131st CES facility operations supervisory specialist.

“In a building, we usually take care of everything except for communications install; communications is the one thing we don’t typically take care of,” said Blase.

Blase, who has eight years of network wiring experience, led the team through this installation and said communication and teamwork were key to success. The team worked on multiple floors, unable to see one another and having to situate cable with just the right amount of tension and arrangement.

“We started in the basement and worked our way up floor by floor as a huge team,” said Blase. “We were spread out on each floor from one end of the building to the other, all 22 of us with radios so that we could be in constant communication.”

Many of the Airmen will use this installation as a baseline for on-the-job training that they had yet to experience.

“With teamwork, determination and hard work, our team showed that they can execute and perform a task that is not within our primary job description,” said Nelsen. “I’m proud of the tenacity shown by our team members who accomplished this task, with less than half of them having experience installing the cable.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated building 29 is scheduled for the end of July, concluding a three-year long renovation process. The building, once complete, will be the new home of the 131st CES.