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Deployed Civil Engineer Airmen enable fully operational runway

Maj. Ryan Kaspari (left) 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron operations chief, and Master Sgt.  Jeremiah Graves, 455th ECES NCO in charge of operations, conduct repairs on the main runway at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Kaspari and Graves are natives of Duluth, Minnesota and are deployed from the Air National guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

Maj. Ryan Kaspari (left) 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron operations chief, and Master Sgt. Jeremiah Graves, 455th ECES NCO in charge of operations, conduct repairs on the main runway at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Kaspari and Graves are natives of Duluth, Minnesota and are deployed from the Air National guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

Master Sgt. Joshua Graves (left), 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, and Master Sgt. Jeremiah Graves, 455th ECES non-commissioned officer in charge of operations, conduct repairs on the main runway at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Joshua and Jeremiah, two brothers from Duluth, Minnesota are deployed from the Air National guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

Master Sgt. Joshua Graves (left), 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, and Master Sgt. Jeremiah Graves, 455th ECES non-commissioned officer in charge of operations, conduct repairs on the main runway at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Joshua and Jeremiah, two brothers from Duluth, Minnesota are deployed from the Air National guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. C. J. White, a native of Houston, Texas and a heavy equipment operator assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron clears out dusts and rocks in a hole that will be used to install bolts in the ground to hold poly panels in place to secure aircraft arresting system cables at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Airmen replaced 502 bolts on the flight line. White is deployed from the 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. C. J. White, a native of Houston, Texas and a heavy equipment operator assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron clears out dusts and rocks in a hole that will be used to install bolts in the ground to hold poly panels in place to secure aircraft arresting system cables at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Airmen replaced 502 bolts on the flight line. White is deployed from the 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Johnson, a structures craftsman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron grinds the top of a bolt securing a poly panel on the flight line of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Johnson grinds down the bolts to keep them from interfering with takeoff and landing procedures. More than 500 bolts out of 992 were replaced due to improper installatio procedures by a previous contractor. Johnson is deployed from the 142nd Air National Guard in Portland, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Johnson, a structures craftsman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron grinds the top of a bolt securing a poly panel on the flight line of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Johnson grinds down the bolts to keep them from interfering with takeoff and landing procedures. More than 500 bolts out of 992 were replaced due to improper installatio procedures by a previous contractor. Johnson is deployed from the 142nd Air National Guard in Portland, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Johnson, a structures craftsman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron grinds the top of a bolt securing a poly panel on the flight line of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Johnson grinds down the bolts to keep them from interfering with takeoff and landing procedures. More than 500 bolts out of 992 had to be replaced because of improper installation procedures by a previous contractor. Johnson is deployed from the 142nd Air National Guard in Portland, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Johnson, a structures craftsman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron grinds the top of a bolt securing a poly panel on the flight line of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 8, 2014. Johnson grinds down the bolts to keep them from interfering with takeoff and landing procedures. More than 500 bolts out of 992 had to be replaced because of improper installation procedures by a previous contractor. Johnson is deployed from the 142nd Air National Guard in Portland, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released)

Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Ion, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project non-commissioned officer in charge, uses a power plainer to remove poly panel material to prevent potential aircraft mishaps on the flightline at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Ion is a native of Duluth, Minnesota and is deployed from the Air National Guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Ion, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project non-commissioned officer in charge, uses a power plainer to remove poly panel material to prevent potential aircraft mishaps on the flightline at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 9th, 2014. Ion is a native of Duluth, Minnesota and is deployed from the Air National Guards' 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/Released)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Squadron completed flight line repairs to Bagram Airfield's main runway June 9, 2014.

The undertaking tasked Airmen to repair four sets of Ultra High Molecular Weight polyethylene panels. The panels are located underneath aircraft arresting system cables on Bagram's Airfield. The panels prevent the arresting cable, when rolled over, from eroding grooves in the underlying pavement, which prevent prolonged runway closures and expensive repairs in the future.

Large bolts hold down each poly panel. The repairs included testing each of the 992 bolts and extracting any that failed to meet a specified torque requirement. Among the 992 bolts, 502 failed the test and were replaced.

"It was the epitome of teamwork and self- sacrifice that returned Bagram's main runway back to full operational capability," said Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Ion, 455 ECES project non-commissioned officer in charge, and a native of Duluth, Minnesota who is deployed from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minnesota. "The barrier arresting kits have been repaired providing another fail-safe for landing aircraft," Each Airman involved with the project performed above and beyond our expectations."

The project was scheduled to occur throughout June, but was completed early.
"Initial plans for the project were for the entire month of June," said Maj. Ryan Kaspari, 455th ECES operations chief, a native of Duluth, Minnesota deployed from the 148th FW. "We were permitted 16 outages throughout the month to complete the project. I estimated it would require 12 days, but we finished in eight."

Prior to the endeavor, the planning was very detailed. Leadership organized Airmen into specific groups to complete different tasks. Testing and training were conducted, while concept drills were rehearsed and materials gathered. Experts spent many hours studying manufacturer's instructions and conversing with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

"This project was the most well planned, and well executed project I've ever been a part of," said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Gilbert, 455th ECES chief enlisted manager, a native of Portland, Oregon deployed from the Air National Guard 142nd FW, Portland, Oregon. "The creativity and ingenuity of our Airmen played a crucial role in the completion of the assignment."

According to Lt. Col. Jason Lay, 455 ECES commander, a native of Portland, Oregon, by the end of the project the Airmen were producing higher levels of proficiency and productivity.

Bagram is the busiest military airfield in Afghanistan and even in the entire Department of Defense; it serves as the hub for several airframes to include the C-130 J Super Hercules, A-10 Thunderbolt II, EC-130 Compass Call, HH-60 Pave Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper, MQ-1B Predator, MC-12W Liberty and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

"Our Airmen understood the importance of this mission," said Lay, who is deployed from the 142nd FW. "This project will likely be the most important task our Airmen complete while deployed. It is unlikely another project will have as much impact on the mission as this one. Because of the dedication and effort of every Airman from both squadrons we are handing over a completely operational airfield several days, even weeks, ahead of schedule."