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 $20 million annual operating budget. Additionally, the squadron is an integral part of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force with 145 members on Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force teams. This year, 54 personnel were deployed in four countries for a total of 9,720 days.
The squadron is comprised of five flights. The Operations Flight is the force behind maintaining the utilities, real property and environment for Altus AFB personnel to live, work and play, from facility heating and air conditioning to the operation of aircraft hangar doors. To supplement the squadron's 146 military and civilian craftsmen, over $4.7 million in service contracts are managed every year. These include grounds maintenance, custodial, refuse and other supporting contracts to help maintain an immaculate base appearance.
The Engineering flight manages the planning, programming, design, construction and GEOBASE common installation picture for Altus AFB. We are responsible for 664 opportunities worth over $202M and ongoing construction in excess of $30M. The program consists of military construction, non-appropriated funds, Defense Logistics Agency, anti-terrorism/force protection projects, and operations and maintenance projects. Fiscal Year 2017 was a remarkable year in the number of projects executed in the first quarter. Close coordination with the local contracting squadron led to the award of 10 of 17 projects worth $2.7M by December 2016. With the majority of the project workload executed early in the fiscal year we were able to ensure the bed down of a third KC-135 Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer and a full motion KC-135 Weapon System Trainer in Building 89 for a cost of $1.2M. This ensured the success of simulator upgrades to the KC-135 simulators while minimizing the training impact on student throughput. We completed the design of the $13.6M Assault Landing Zone to convert it from asphalt to concrete pavement. This proved to be the most economically advantageous method for ensuring the viability of the C-17 training mission. We continued to push the Hangar 518 fuel cell expansion project for the KC-46 to ensure delivery before aircraft arrival, awarded Phase 2 of the $11.6M KC-46 flight training center and completed the design for a new 116 person dormitory. To ensure viability of the base flying training mission, the planning staff of Engineering identified and engaged with a potential wind farm developer and the local community to communicate the likely training mission impact. Altus AFB was selected as a pilot project for the Air Force "Energy as a Service" initiative to ensure power security and broke ground on a Readiness and Environment Protection Integration (REPI) project to secure water rights for the base. Water availability is our number one encroachment issue. Success and development in the planning world was enabled by Geospatial Information Systems. We were able to reestablish the web viewer for Altus data and improve data integrity through FIAR compliance checks and coordination with real property office.
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, info tech, and force management. Altus AFB is leading AETC in Space Optimization and has the most up to date set of 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. The military family housing consist 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 257 person squadron, and executed $24.3M in FY16 and is set to exceed $30M in FY17.
The Fire 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 contract fire protection support for aircraft operations at the Clinton-Sherman Auxiliary Field at Burns Flat, Okla. The Fire Emergency Services Flight made 246 emergency responses during FY16. The Fire Prevention Section conducted 313 facility fire safety inspections and trained 2,700 members of Altus AFB in fire safety and extinguisher use. Through the use of a state of the art mobile fire prevention trailer, 500 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 became one of the only thirteen State of Oklahoma certified training sites for use in Oklahoma State University's fire science program. Now in addition to training our 11 mutual aid partners on the aircraft mock-up, the structural trainer, car and dumpster fire trainers, and vehicle extraction course, 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 uses of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through development of the installation 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 and Bio-Environmental have 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.
(Updated as of August 2017)