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BEAR team proudly keeps deployment facilities running

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stark Sarrazin, a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., plugs up a dryer in a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The facility was equipped with 20 dryer units to support approximately 450 Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors in the Dominican Republic participating in the annual exercise to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stark Sarrazin, a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., plugs up a dryer in a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The facility was equipped with 20 dryer units to support approximately 450 Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors in the Dominican Republic participating in the annual exercise to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ruben Apodaca, an electric power production journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron (MMS) out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. guides a forklift in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, during the setup of a laundry facility used by joint forces as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The 635th MMS Airmen are are part of the Air Force’s only organic Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources unit, which provides flexible and responsive resources and expertise to support missions like NEW HORIZONS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ruben Apodaca, an electric power production journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron (MMS) out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. guides a forklift in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, during the setup of a laundry facility used by joint forces as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The 635th MMS Airmen are are part of the Air Force’s only organic Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources unit, which provides flexible and responsive resources and expertise to support missions like NEW HORIZONS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. John Hernandez an electric power production craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., pumps fuel into a 43-gallon mission essential power (MEP) unit in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The MEP unit is used to provide electricity to a newly-constructed laundry facility while deployed forces wait for commercial power to be connected to the barracks site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. John Hernandez an electric power production craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., pumps fuel into a 43-gallon mission essential power (MEP) unit in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The MEP unit is used to provide electricity to a newly-constructed laundry facility while deployed forces wait for commercial power to be connected to the barracks site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Enrique Flores, an electric systems journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., uses a file to smooths out a hole for electrical wiring in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The wires are used to connect a newly-constructed laundry facility to a commercial power supply, that will support approximately 450 U.S. military personnel participating in the annual exercise on a rotational basis including civil engineers, medical professionals and various support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Enrique Flores, an electric systems journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., uses a file to smooths out a hole for electrical wiring in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The wires are used to connect a newly-constructed laundry facility to a commercial power supply, that will support approximately 450 U.S. military personnel participating in the annual exercise on a rotational basis including civil engineers, medical professionals and various support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Enrique Flores, an electric systems journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., puts on a face guard prior to connecting electricity to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The face guard is used to protect against heat that could be caused by an electrical panel if it were to explode. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Enrique Flores, an electric systems journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., puts on a face guard prior to connecting electricity to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The face guard is used to protect against heat that could be caused by an electrical panel if it were to explode. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Airmen deployed from the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., work to connect two 3,000-gallon water bladders to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The 635th MSS is only squadron in the Air Force that provides Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources, or BEAR, assets to a variety of DoD missions like NEW HORIZONS, which ensures U.S. forces remain prepared for real-world deployments in support of contingency, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Airmen deployed from the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., work to connect two 3,000-gallon water bladders to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The 635th MSS is only squadron in the Air Force that provides Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources, or BEAR, assets to a variety of DoD missions like NEW HORIZONS, which ensures U.S. forces remain prepared for real-world deployments in support of contingency, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Waseem Mrad, a heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., attaches an exhaust hose to a dryer in a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The exhaust hoses direct the hot air produced by the driers out of the laundry facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Waseem Mrad, a heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration journeyman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., attaches an exhaust hose to a dryer in a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The exhaust hoses direct the hot air produced by the driers out of the laundry facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stark Sarrazin, a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., attaches hoses to pumps that will supply water to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The pumps will supply clean water as well as pull dirty water from 10 washers that will support approximately 450 Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors participating in the annual exercise on a rotational basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stark Sarrazin, a water and fuel systems maintenance craftsman with the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., attaches hoses to pumps that will supply water to a newly-constructed laundry facility in the Dominican Republic, March 29, 2017, as part of NEW HORIZONS 2017. The pumps will supply clean water as well as pull dirty water from 10 washers that will support approximately 450 Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors participating in the annual exercise on a rotational basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

ARROYO CANO, Dominican Republic --

One month in and New Horizons 2017 continues strong thanks to non-typical support from Airmen out of the 635th Materiel Maintenance Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

Twelve Airmen from the 635th MMS’s Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources unit work diligently to keep the barracks operational and improve service member’s wellbeing in support of NH17, Dominican Republic.


The 12 Airmen are part of the Air Force's only BEAR unit, which is responsible for providing flexible and responsive resources and expertise to support the nation’s priorities. The group responds worldwide for the deployment, sustainment, setup, operation, maintenance, teardown and reconstitution of equipment in support of contingencies, natural disaster response, humanitarian support, exercises, counterdrug operations, other higher headquarters, and presidential-directed requirements. 

 

Teams normally deploy out with their own equipment and help the receiving unit set the gear up in a timely manner. After setup, the team typically leaves and turns over maintenance to a civil engineer team. 

 

“Usually we only go out for two to three weeks at a time," said Senior Master Sgt. Craig Hunter, the 635th MMS BEAR team chief. "In this case, we went to a sustainment operation, which is not typical to a BEAR base but it suits what we were doing. There isn’t a civil engineer team here on the ground to hand off maintenance to, so we offered our services to maintain the equipment that we know and maintain the base camp so ‘RED HORSE’ can focus on the vocational school and medical clinic construction projects.”

 

From day one the team has worked to provide NH17 service members with basic necessities and comforts that wouldn’t be provided otherwise.

“We set up a laundry tent consisting of a small shelter system, 10 washers, 20 dryers, two water heaters as well as all the tanks water pumps and bladders associated with it,” explained Hunter. “We also set up the Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen, which comes with a medium shelter so we have plenty of dining area and food cooking operations for the 200 to 250 personnel we were expecting on the ground.”

 

The BEAR team also set up a gym, brought in all the emergency backup lighting and strategically placed all the backup generators.

Although the team consists of members with differing specialties, its Airmen use opportunities such as this to share knowledge amongst the team. 

“When we deploy out as a team one of our goals is to make sure that we are subject matter experts on our own equipment, but also we know a little bit about everyone else’s equipment,” said Hunter. “Since we are such a small team we depend on each other for that labor assist and that support. They are a tight knit team and want to help each other out wherever they can.

 

“If we have a power outage, we ‘don’t only need’ our power pro guys, but anyone else who is available from our team to be able to start up generators, light carts and switch over that power, because those power pro guys can’t be tasked to do all that at once.”

 

Along with hard work and continually growing knowledge also comes a sense of pride for the team.

"Everyday I’m learning, with the weather and equipment - we teach each other,” said Staff Sgt. John Hernandez, a 635th MMS power production craftsman. “The people here know who the BEAR team is. It feels pretty good. When they walk down our hallway they see the pride we take.”

 

A lot of that pride comes from working in a location that sometimes makes it difficult to get the job done. 

 

According to Hunter, since the team hit the ground everyone has worked together. The Airmen encountered challenges in the beginning, but it was out of the team's control with commercial power going down and supplies not coming in, but no matter what it was the guys figured out a way to make it work.

"We have been working with what little we have to make the mission continue," said Hernandez. "You just have to make things work."

 

“There hasn’t been any time we said we can’t do it or it can’t be done, said Hunter. “Even through all the challenges and working some really late nights sometimes, the guys are still smiling and happy. Morale is high because they love what they are doing.”

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