Minnesota Moxie

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bristol Evasco
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

TAMA HILLS, Japan -- The 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) traveled to Tama Hills, Japan to conduct a two-week Deployment for Training (DFT). The DFT program provided a welcomed opportunity for hands-on, real-world engineering training that the CES met with moxie.

Moxie means courageous spirit and determination. It means perseverance. The squadron carefully selected it to represent how they are going to tackle each mission as a squadron. It’s exactly how they met this DFT.

Naturally concealed in the rugged forest terrain of Tama Hills, Tama Service Annex was the ideal place for the Japanese Imperial Army to produce and store their munitions in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, the area is maintained and operated by the 374th Force Support Squadron from Yakota Air Base and serves as a recreation area for boy scouts. Tama Hills offers full-service lodging facilities with multiple outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, golf, picnic areas, horseback riding, tennis courts, softball fields, archery range, basketball courts, and more.

What Tama Hills didn’t have was a dining hall, bath house and recreation building. At least not until the 133rd CES arrived. Twenty-two Airmen from various CES career specialties, including structures, HVAC, utilities, and electrical, got right to work, tackling each project with vigor and excitement for this real-world training mission opportunity.

“The DFT allows our people to get out of the shop, use their skills, practice their craft, and accomplish training,” said Tech. Sgt. Katie Beck, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) for the DFT. Beck continues “Real-world, hands-on experience is the best we can ask for.”

What this DFT also provided was the opportunity to partner with local Japanese military contractors. Together, the CES, DFT support staff, and local contractors gathered necessary plans, supplies, and equipment. “Sometimes language was barrier, but together, we always figured it out” remarked Beck.

133 CES Airmen renovated both interior and exterior portions of the three structures. Tasks ranged from hanging, taping, mudding, sanding, priming, and painting sheetrock to demolition of wrecked exterior walls, hanging siding and roofing. They also used their expertise to install and/or improve plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems for each building.

“It’s training we can squeeze into two weeks that would take us two years back home,” said Tech. Sgt. David Berning, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron. “It’s really cool to see all the pieces come to fruition.”

And come to fruition they did. In just 12 days, the 133rd CES had renovated 7,833 square feet across the three buildings and completed hundreds of hours of proficiency training, upgrade training and cross training.

The squadron also made time to bolster team cohesion and esprit de corps through off-duty activities such as hiking Mt Fuji, dinning at local establishments and visiting areas of interest such as Tokyo.

Staff Sergeant Amanda Wolkenhauer, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron structures, “The best part of this trip is making memories,” Wolkenhauer continued, “Meeting new people and working with different people has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned a ton, and I’ve learned that the 133rd really is one big family.”

Lt. Col. Brett Hansen, Commander, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, said it best, “The 133 CES has the hardest working men and women in the Air Force and our moxie will be felt for years to come here at Tama Hills.”