Civil engineer office receives presidential recognition Published May 30, 2007 By Senior Airman Shaun Emery Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- The Soto Cano Air Base Civil Engineer Office was recognized as the best in the Department of Defense, receiving the Commander-In-Chief Special Recognition for Installation Excellence Award. During the period from October 2005 to September 2006 the members of the BCE office focused on enhancing working conditions, quality of life, customer services and setting standards for the future, said Lt. Col. Thomas Griesbaum, 612th Air Base Squadron commander. "It's an outstanding achievement," said Colonel Griesbaum. "With such a small team, we made great strides to improve the base and the lives of the people stationed here." One way the BCE office did this was focusing on the improvement and maintenance of the base infrastructure. Lodging, plumbing and power are essential to keep the base going. Working with the Army Corps of Engineers and their other contracting partners the BCE office maintained and improved the base's 8,000-foot runway. The BCE office planned and built 48 new housing units, while re-allocating space for morale welfare and recreation programs. While taking care of the tasks for the foreseeable future, the BCE office also focused on issues down the road. "We are looking to build for the future," said Colonel Griesbaum. "We are always looking for innovative ways to accomplish projects," said Colonel Griesbaum. "Using the synergy of all our people and assets, we hope to continue to improve the base." Force protection upgrades continue to ensure the safety of the personnel working at Soto Cano AB, said Colonel Griesbaum. The BCE office executed a perimeter light system upgrade, mitigating criminal and terrorist threats. The main gate was expanded and a large vehicle search area was added. According to Maj. Andrew Lauer, 612 ABS civil engineer flight commander, the 10-foot high perimeter wall, which stretches for seven miles, is the new standard for enduring bases. Additionally, the BCE office completed construction on a new 8,000-square foot Joint Security Forces building which Major Lauer hopes will help streamline operations for the men and woman tasked with protecting the base and it's members. With many projects completed and many more on the horizon, Major Lauer said the BCE office will continue to build on the framework that makes the Soto Cano AB mission possible. "I would like to recognize the outstanding contributions of our partners across the base," said Major Lauer. "And I would like to give a special thanks to the dedicated men and women of the Civil Engineer Flight who really made this a reality. They truly deserve the accolades for this achievement."