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14th CES wins dual AETC awards

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- The 14th Flying Training Wing’s Civil Engineer Squadron brings home the gold with not one but two Air Education and Training Command 2020 Civil Engineer Awards.

The mission of the 14th CES is to provide sustainable infrastructure, environment, readiness and emergency response to the base.

The 14th CES’s Readiness and Emergency Management (R&EM) flight won the 2020 Col. Frederick J. Reimer Award by for the third year in a row. The award distinguishes the flight that best exhibits exemplary performance in support of the readiness and installation of Emergency Management missions.

“One of the biggest things that set us apart in AETC was our commitment to reach the goal of overall readiness that has been pushed over the last few years,” said Master Sgt. Elizabeth Phelps, 14th CES R&EM flight superintendent. “Our Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear classes did not cease for COVID-19, instead what we did is cut our classes in half and doubled the amount of classes we do in order to continue our bases state of readiness.”

The R&EM flight has been working alongside other installation sections like the 14th Medical Group and 14th Security Forces Squadron to do additional readiness exercises and training events. They also executed COVID-19 procedures into the Emergency Operations Center to effectively employ social distancing safety measures.

“Not everyone has to be in the same place to disseminate information, said Staff Sgt. Brett Jones, 14th CES R&EM Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. “The introduction of Commercial Virtual Remote Environment Teams as a platform to communicate virtually has brought success to the operation of the center. Implementing new processes in light of the pandemic is something the entire career field has been having problems with but we are figuring it out and making it work here.”

The team at the R&EM flight is one of the smaller flights in AETC but that has not stopped them from excelling and innovating.

“It is very humbling to be in a flight that has taken a MAJCOM award three years in a row, said James Cross, 14th CES R&EM Specialist. “That just shows the talent that walks through the doors at this flight. To do something three years in a row you have to build on it and use the combined effort of a team all the way from the commanders down.”

Along with the EM flight, the Brigadier General Michael A. McAuliffe Housing Excellence Award was presented to the Columbus Air Force Base Military Housing Office. This award recognizes teams that strive to provide quality housing assistance to military members and their families, retirees, contactors and civilians with access to the installation.

Over the last year the Columbus AFB Housing office has been hard at work partnering with Hunt Housing to ensure the homes on base are suitable and ready for occupancy. The Housing Office role on base is to oversee the privatization project to include inspecting houses as well as reviewing work orders, long term projects and monthly budgets.

“We just want to make sure residents are getting a quality home and all issues have been resolved before they ever move in,” said Kay Quinlan, Military Housing Office Housing Element Chief. It makes me very proud for my team members that their work is being recognized with this award.”

COVID-19 has tampered the usual work flow of the Housing Office as well. Standard inspections by the Housing office along with Hunt Housing typically occurs in unison but safety precautions have forced separate work schedules between the two offices.

“It has been a challenge because when we see a discrepancy in the home before move-in, Hunt is not there to see the same thing we are seeing,” Quinlan said. As far as the dorms, we are not able to have the face to face interactions with some of the occupants we would like to because of either quarantining or social distancing.”

The 14th CES as a whole is always continuing to innovate customer service, focus on mission effectiveness, and develop installation excellence. With the successful achievement of the MAJCOM level awards, both of these sections of the 14th CES will continue on to compete at the Air Force level against other MAJCOM winners.

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