JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Airmen from the 668th Alteration and Installation Squadron, also known as the “Roadrunners,” collaborated with Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland’s 502nd Civil Engineering Squadron to help ensure safety of base tenants during the worst winter storms in Texas history.
Winter storm Uri blasted its way through Texas Feb. 15, dropping more than two inches of snow and causing below-freezing temperatures, which lead to major structural and water damage to many buildings on JBSA-Lackland and shutting down local infrastructure. A second storm followed mid-week.
A 12-person team of active-duty Roadrunners specializing in civil engineering worked eight- to ten-hour weekend shifts repairing damaged buildings, including the Child Development Center, Youth Center and permanent party lodging used to support pivotal Air Force missions.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Nazarechuk, 668th ALIS commander, could not be prouder of the sacrifices made by his team during the time of crisis for Lackland occupants.
“During this year’s winter vortex, our Airmen went above and beyond,” he said. “Airmen who recently returned on station volunteered their technical abilities to collaborate with the 502nd CES to fix plumbing, ceilings and architectural failures in multiple buildings around JBSA-Lackland, ensuring continued operations and solidifying partnerships.”
Winter storm Uri took most of the local San Antonio community by surprise, but the challenging conditions did not deter the efforts of 668th ALIS Airmen but fueled their efforts to create new partnerships.
“Airmen were able to build partnerships and work side-by-side with the 502nd CES in defense of the JBSA infrastructure,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeremie Wilson, 668th ALIS CE flight superintendent. “Together both units removed and repaired water line breaks, flooded basements, leaks, and interior damage. This joint effort put JBSA-Lackland back on the road to recovery.”
The 668th ALIS is comprised of 163 Total Force Airmen who specialize in logistics, communication and civil engineering, and is the only organization in the Air Force tasked with engineering, constructing, and installing information systems throughout Sensitive Compartment Information Facilities, or SCIFs. The Roadrunners, described as the Air Force’s experts in SCIFs, provide 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) with an array of logistics, communications and civil engineering services.
The ALIS Airmen collectively deploy 7,000 days per year, some who returned only to find themselves braving the winter storms and immediately putting their skills to work.
Wilson highlighted several Airmen who worked outside of their fields of expertise to ensure expedited repairs, resulting in an impromptu visit from Lt. Gen. Marshall Webb, the Air Education and Training commander who thanked them for the work they accomplished.
Technical Sgt. Sean Benoit, crew lead for a multi-craft emergency response team and an electrician by trade, led his team in response to several ruptured pipes, isolating leaks and pumping water out of the flooded Child Development Center.
Senior Airman Owen M. Mulder, a structural journeyman by trade, assisted with repairs to the Children's Association for Maximum Potential facility. He worked diligently to remove 1,200 square feet of water-saturated sheetrock, allowing plumbers to expedite repairs and mitigate mold hazards throughout the building.
Although the storms have moved on, there is more work to complete. The 688th ALIS Airmen continue to assist the 502nd CES in completing more than 2,000 facility assessments and making continued repairs to JBSA-Lackland facilities, while also repairing the infrastructure within the ALIS compound.
“Our Airmen are continuing the work it takes to get the JBSA-Lackland community back to normal,” Wilson said.