131st and 509th Civil engineers team up to set TFI benchmark Published July 9, 2013 By Staff Sgt. Brigitte Brantley 509th Public Affairs WHITEMAN AFB., Mo -- Active-duty and Guard Airmen have the same training, but often different mindsets and different missions. Despite the challenges they face in working together, collaboration between the two often results in more efficient and effective Air Force operations. As a part of this total force integration mindset, three Citizen Airmen from the 131st Civil Engineer Squadron arrived at Whiteman June 25 to collaborate with their active-duty counterparts on a large-scale project. For the past five years, the 131st Maintenance Operations Squadron and 509th MOS have used eight semi-permanent buildings as places to work out of on the flightline. Because the trailers' leases are up and those squadrons are deactivating, there is no longer any need to keep the buildings. Completely preparing the "ocho trailers" for removal from the base will take two weeks, and the 131st's role was in the beginning days of the process. When they are done with their portion of the effort, which includes interior and exterior work, as well as cleaning out the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the 509th CES will complete the rest of the project. "This is the first time both our two squadrons have collaborated on a major project," said Dan Nelsen, an operations officer in the 509th CES who also happens to be a Guardsman with the 131st. "It's great to see and everybody benefits when the two can work together." In order to work on this project, the 131st traveled here from their home station at Lambert Air National Guard Station near St. Louis. Although it required a bit of a drive, joining forces like this provided Airmen on both sides a chance to learn something new. "Getting to come out here and get the extra training is worth it," said Master Sgt. Jonathan Allen, a full-time plumber technician with the 131st. "The more training we get, the more proficient we'll be at our jobs and the more prepared we'll be for similar projects in the future." In addition to strengthening the specific skills needed for this project, this coming together also gave the Airmen a chance to get to know each other. "Because of this teaming up, we'll be better prepared to work together in the future," said 2nd Lt. Grant Hatfield, a programmer for the 509th CES. "We are working to build strong relationships with each other before they are really needed."