139th News

Training highlights hands-on skills of civil engineer Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Theo Ramsey
  • 139th Airlift Wing
Engineer Airmen bring various hands-on skills to the mission. Over 30 Airmen from the Missouri Air National Guard's 139th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) brought those skills to Raymond, Maine, to help build part of a Boy Scouts camp from May 22 - June 3.

Master Sgt. Joe McMullen is a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman with 139th CES at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, Mo.  McMullen, a St. Joseph native, has been stationed with the 139th his entire 12-years of enlisted service.

McMullen comes from a family of pipe-fitters and was encouraged as a young adult to gain experience in a trade that will always be needed.  Prior to enlisting, he applied to join his local pipe-fitters union and was denied.  After enlisting with the 139th and attending water and fuel systems technical training with the Air Force, McMullen reapplied with his local pipe-fitters union and was quickly accepted.

McMullen is now a professional civilian plumber/pipe-fitter and an Airman in the Air National Guard.  He says the Guard has provided an excellent opportunity to learn a trade and see the world at the same time.  McMullen has worked on projects in Washington, Colorado, Cuba, Latvia, El Salvador, and Canada.

Staff Sgt. Elijah Hall is a pavements and construction specialist, also known as a heavy equipment operator, with the 139th CES.  Hall has been stationed at Rosecrans for three years, and was active duty, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., for two years prior.

Hall, a Missouri native, says his job provides a lot of opportunities to learn new skills and see the world.  He works full-time as a civilian contractor with a local dredging and excavating company.  Hall also farms cattle on the side.

Tech. Sgt. Josh Florea is a structural craftsman, a career also known as structures, with the 139th CES.  He transferred from the 219th Red Horse Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., last year.

When talking to potential recruits, Florea tries to find out why they are interested in a trade like structures.  He said he feels it is an important trade that fewer and fewer young adults pursue and likes to match the job with people who will appreciate the craftsmanship involved.

"If you are good at your job and you hustle, you will always have work," said Florea. "Missions require excellence from their structures troops if they are to succeed."

Florea states that structures frequently finds themselves leading the way for important missions around the world.  Structures must come in before a mission can be underway, and he says he loves the hands on work.

Tech. Sgt. Paul Edwards is an electrical power production craftsman, also known as power pro, with the 139th CES.  A native of Liberty, Mo., Edwards has been a power pro with the 139th CES for 10 years of his 12-year Air National Guard Career.  He cross-trained from the electrical systems career field after his first two years of service.

Edwards says his job as a power pro is very rewarding.  He says it is a dirty job where he gets to use his skills with generators, diesel mechanics, and electrical systems.  Edwards is also proud that as a power pro he gets to help save pilots lives with the installation and maintenance of aircraft arresting systems, which are mechanical systems designed to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Referring to the Boy Scouts camp, he says he enjoys the pressure of doing a great job with a compressed time schedule.