The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron's lineage began Dec. 1, 1947, when the unit was first activated as Squadron C, 97th Airdrome Group at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The unit also served at Biggs AFB, Texas, and Eaker AFB, Arkansas, before moving to Altus AFB, Oklahoma, where it was eventually aligned under the 97th Mission Support Group.
The squadron supports the training, airlift and refueling missions of the 97th Air Mobility Wing by providing facilities and infrastructure, utility services, emergency management, environmental stewardship, housing referral and privatized housing liaison, unaccompanied housing management and fire protection services. The squadron has 258 personnel and manages a $25 million annual operating budget. Additionally, the squadron is an integral part of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force with 156 members on Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force teams. This year, 54 personnel were deployed in nine countries for a total of 9,720 days.
The squadron is comprised of 5 flights, with the Operations Flight being the largest. The Operations Flight is comprised of 128 military and civilian craftsmen. These craftsmen are the driving force behind maintenance of utility systems, road and airfield surfaces, heating, air conditioning, electrical and airfield lighting, structural, roofing and fire alarm systems. In addition, the flight manages an average of $4.2 million in service contracts annually. These contracts include contractor owned supply store for maintenance supplies, custodial, refuse, recycling, grounds maintenance and other supporting contracts to provide high quality facilities for the base populace to live, work, play and train.
The Engineering flight manages the planning, programming, design, construction and GEOBASE common installation picture (CIP) for Altus AFB. The Flight is responsible for 449 project opportunities worth over $277M and ongoing construction in excess of $58M. The program consists of military construction, non-appropriated funds, Defense Logistics Agency, anti-terrorism/force protection, and operations and maintenance projects. Fiscal Year 2019 was a remarkable year in the number and value of projects executed in the first quarter. Close coordination with the local contracting flight led to the award of 5 of 6 projects worth $6.8M by December 2018. With the majority of the project workload executed early in the fiscal year we were able to ensure the renovations of both the 58th AMS and 54th ARS squadron operations facilities started as planned due to squadron operations relocations to B87. These renovations will adapt the two-squadron operations layouts to current training processes improving student throughput. Construction of the KC-46 flight training center (FTC) is wrapping up with the expected project award of the third and final phase of the FTC in April of 2019. The flight continues to push mill and overlay of base roads across the installation and are in the last two funded phases of the 7-phase $5M effort. We completed the construction of the $13.6M Assault Landing Zone (ALZ) converting it from asphalt to concrete pavement in January 2019. The ALZ is back in service as planned ensuring viability of the C-17 training mission. Engineering is more than projects. We also manage the natural resources and encroachment around the base. The military training routes are a natural resource that ensures the viability of the base flying training mission. The planning staff of engineering flight identified and engaged with a potential wind farm developer and the local community to communicate the likely training mission impacts of future development. To add to the natural resources the flight obtained Readiness and Environment Protection Integration (REPI) funds to secure water rights for the base. Water availability is our number one encroachment issue. As a result of forward thinking vision of making Altus great again, Altus AFB is a pilot project for the Air Force "Energy as a Service" initiative to ensure power security and resiliency. None of this forward vision in the planning and development arena would have been possible without the use of our Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). Flight GIS personnel reestablished the web viewer for Altus data and improved data integrity through FIAR (Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness) compliance checks and coordination with the real property office. The Engineering flight is continuing to pursue a local computer server to allow more timely updates of GEOBASE data (CIP) and provide display of base specific information.
The Installation Management Flight provides daily wing level management of environmental programs, real property management, space optimization, and the best quality living conditions for Altus Airmen and their families while delivering comprehensive squadron level financial management, information technology, and force management. Altus AFB is leading AETC in Space Optimization having the most up to date set of Base Real Property records. The environmental program maintains a proven track record in regulatory compliance, experiencing multiple No-Notice inspections with no findings of deficiency. The Housing element manages 3 dorms for permanent party and non-prior service airmen, providing quality living space for up to 300+ airmen. Military family housing consists of 530 privatized housing units valued at $151M and maintains one of the highest resident satisfaction ratings for privatized housing in the Air Force. The Capital Asset Element of this flight provides IT support and force management activities for a 258 person squadron, and executed $35.5M in FY18 and is set to exceed $17M in FY19.
The Fire and Emergency Services Flight provides structural, hazardous material, aircraft crash, fire prevention, fire protection and emergency medical response services for all aircraft, facilities and personnel. Additionally, the flight manages fire protection operations for aircraft operations at the Clinton-Sherman Auxiliary Field in Burns Flat, Okla. The Fire and Emergency Services Flight made 244 emergency responses during FY18. The Fire Prevention Section conducted 525 facility fire safety inspections and trained 2,600 members of Altus AFB in fire safety and extinguisher use. Through the use of a state of the art mobile fire prevention trailer, 519 children received home fire safety and fire reporting training as part of a community wide education program in the Altus Public School system. Additionally, the Altus AFB fire training facility is one of thirteen State of Oklahoma certified training sites for use in Oklahoma State University's fire science program. In addition to training with our 11 mutual aid partners on confined space, hazardous materials, aircraft, structural, car, dumpster and vehicle extraction operations, the flight hosts and augments OSU instructors.
The Readiness and Emergency Management (R&EM) Flight provides peacetime emergency preparedness and wartime contingency training to 1,368 active duty, reserve personnel and their dependents. They are further charged with managing Civil Engineer mobility requirements through the Expeditionary Engineering section. In addition they prepare the installation for response to major accidents, natural disasters and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through development of the Altus AFB Installation Emergency Management Plan 10-2, contingency response training, management of the Emergency Operations Center and on-scene response. R&EM, in concert with Fire Emergency Services and Bio-Environmental, has created a team of first responders to expedite the response to crisis situations, test for the presence of WMD materials and provide leadership timely and accurate detection information. Finally, the R&EM Flight facilitates training and operation of the Wing’s Emergency Operations Center in compliance with the Air Force Incident Management System (AFIMS).
(Updated as of April 2019)