442d civil engineers restore Eareckson fire station

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Missy Sterling
  • 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo.-- Seven Reservists assigned to the 442d Civil Engineer Squadron assisted two active-duty members assigned to the 611th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, remodel a fire station on the island of Shemya May 31 to June 14.

Located on the island, Eareckson Air Station is a divert for any transpacific flights and is one of the most northern runways in the Pacific Ocean, which can be used for in-flight emergencies as well as refueling missions.

The fire station at Eareckson was in care-taker status since the end of the Cold War, and was renovated by the 611th CES due to asbestos, said Tech Sgt. Thomas Hallanger, 611th CES quality assurance evaluator.

Senior Master Sgt. Denver Long III, 442d CES superintendent of the heavy repairs section, was the deployment for training team lead. 

“We’re the first reservist that have ever worked on it,” said Long about the fire station. “It’s the first time it’s been a DFT project. The host unit sends people to work on it as they have availability.”

The 611th CES consists of approximately 60 service members and has 21 sites to maintain in Alaska, Hawaii and Wake Island, so when teams can come out it is absolutely helpful, said Hallanger.

The host’s goal for the team was to complete the bathrooms and living quarters in the fire station.

“This project is a massive undertaking, and we couldn't have finished the restrooms without the help of the 442d,” said Hallanger.

The distance to the fire fighters’ dorms to where the fire trucks had to be temporarily located to the airfield could take up to 30 minutes for them to respond therefore, rebuilding the fire station is important for the firefighters to be able to immediately respond to an emergency.

“Work at the fire station consisted of mainly electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), and structures requirements,” said Long. “We have experienced people, so we were able to get a lot done.”

Additionally, the team was able to demolish two, World War II era hangar doors that were a potential safety hazard since the doors could have been removed by hurricane force winds, with gusts up to 100 mph that hit the island. 

“This is the first major work that’s been done on the fire station in about two and a half years,” said Hallanger. “By the time we left they had stored eight fire trucks inside.”

With the combined efforts from Reservists and active-duty members, fire trucks were moved into the facility for the first time in over 20 years.