Airmen take training to the Rockies
By Maj. Melanie Englert, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published August 04, 2013
GRANBY, Colo. -- More than 30 Airmen from the 139th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) conducted an array of Mission Essential Task Training Lists (METLs) while working on various projects throughout the 5,000 acre YMCA camp here July 22 - Aug. 2. The Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program provides "hands-on" readiness training opportunities, while at the same time, providing a direct and lasting benefit to communities.
YMCA of the Rockies benefitted from every aspect of the 139th CE professionals: construction of a sun shade, groomer building, kids park summer snow tubing concessions and water testing lab. The airmen brought special skill sets that allowed them to complete projects such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at the pool and administrator's office, setting a three stage pad transformer, and surveying for two future projects.
They were one of the seven squadrons rotating through Snow Mountain Ranch participating in the IRT program this year, while on their two-week annual training.
"This is the first year within the IRT program, we are so excited to partner with the Air National Guard" said Trueman Hoffmeister, the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch director, "we are benefitting from several projects that we would have never been able to afford without the help of the labor of the Air Guard."
The presence of service members is not new for Snow Mountain Ranch. Another service of the camp is for Wounded Warriors. These veterans are able to use the ranch during reintegration with their families upon returning from a deployment.
"We have several programs that serve the military, said Hoffmeister. "Currently we have get-away weekends, where a family of four can stay in our lodging and have their meals provided for a discounted rate."
Commanders of units approve IRT initiatives that are compatible with their METL, which supports their wartime mission, and/or the military occupational specialties of their personnel. Civil-military initiatives provide a commander a unique type of "hands-on" morale enhancing training.
"We were the last team of the rotations, our mission was to come in and finish any projects that had not been completed, and there was one project that was at the very beginning stages, that we had not anticipated doing that one. But as usual they chimed right in luckily we had union plumbers that knew what they were doing," said Lt. Col. Grace Link, 139th CES commander. "They always do an outstanding job. They represent not only the 139th Civil Engineer Squadron, but the Missouri Air National Guard as a whole in an outstanding manner, really proud of them."
Link added, "all of the training they receive here helps them, because in a deployed environment you have no idea what you're going to face until you get there. So every skill-set they gain, no matter how they gain it, is always an asset to us down the road for contingency."
Civil-Military IRT program is a partnership between requesting community organizations and the military; therefore resource support is a "shared" responsibility. Individual IRT projects provide commanders another option to meet their mobilization readiness requirements, enhancing morale and contributing to military recruiting and retention. As in overseas deployments, these projects should be incorporated into future unit training plans and budgets. The YMCA and Boy Scouts of America are two of the nationally approved IRT partners, and currently there are 14 state approved projects as well, according to the Department of Defense official website.
"We had a ten team rotation scheduled for this year," said Maj. Brock Childers, 140th CES duration superintendent, Colorado Air National Guard, who works as a liaison, coordinating projects to match the skills and abilities to the units. "This project [YMCA over The Rockies] has approved funding for five years."