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49th CES named best CE Squadron in the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
The 49th Civil Engineer Squadron received a late Christmas gift when they were named the best large civil engineer squadron in the Air Force for fiscal year 2012.

The Air Force's highly-coveted Curtin Award, created by the Society of American Military Engineers in 1966, recognizes the most outstanding large, small and Reserve civil engineer units in the Air Force each year. The 49th CES bested the competition and brought the award home to the 49th Wing for the first time since 1999.

While this is the first time in 12 years the 49th CES has won the award, the squadron has long been producing at a consistently high level. The 49th Civil Engineer Squadron provides facility engineering, maintenance and repair programs sustaining an installation valued at $2.6 billion.

"We have a great team that was able to capitalize on a year of activity with lots of program funding and significant challenges that we were able to successfully triumph over together," said Lt. Col. Don Ohlemacher, 49th CES commander.

Being recognized as the best large CES in the Air Force is no small feat. The 49th CES competed with numerous highly-touted CE squadrons from other Major Commands but the accomplishments of the "Desert Bulls" are worthy of being labeled the best.

"Our CE team clearly set themselves apart by demonstrating significant mission impact in base support, quality of life, and commander programs," said Col. Andrew Croft, 49th Wing commander. "I couldn't be prouder of our 49th Civil Engineer Squadron winning CE Squadron of the Year at the Air Force Level."

The 49th CES managed over $200 million of construction, including the simultaneous beddown of three weapon systems, current military construction projects, and various sustainment, restoration, and modernization efforts. Additionally, the squadron responded to 1,027 emergencies in crash and fire rescue, explosive ordnance, and emergency management activities.

The 49th CES successfully deployed 68 engineers to eight locales, including 21 explosive ordnance disposal missions, spending 7,208 days deployed total. While deployed, the "Desert Bulls" were credited with achievements supporting joint and coalition partners in providing a stable and secure Afghanistan. They provided expeditionary engineering capabilities for bedding down Afghan National Security Forces, scaling back and drawing down U.S. forces, and increasing freedom of movement across Taliban strongholds.

And those are just the highlights.

The "Desert Bulls" demonstrated mission impact in several other areas of base support, quality of life, and community outreach programs. Personnel volunteered 3,000 hours to the Cancer Awareness, Prevalence, Prevention and Early Detection facility renovation project as part of the Holloman Big Give program. The firefighters volunteered 2,800 hours to local volunteer fire departments responding to more than 270 calls. Engineers also led efforts for Adopt-A-Highway, Relay for Life, Alamogordo Day of Caring, and Tularosa Animal Shelter.

In all, 49th CES Airmen brought home six Bronze Star Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Force Commendation Medals, two Army Commendation Medals and two Air Force Combat Action Medals. During 2012, engineers captured four wing-level awards and 11 49th Mission Support Group awards.

Recently, the 49th CES dominated the ACC CE Awards winning Best Large CE Unit, Best Fire and Emergency Services Flight, Senior Civilian Manager and Fire Officer of the Year.