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Dirtboys

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- While some career fields may have a hard time seeing their direct impact on the mission, the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron Dirtboys know just what their sweat and hard work means for the wing.

What exactly do the Dirtboys do, one may ask. From burning tumbleweeds to repairing runways, they deem themselves the hardest workers on base.

Burning tumbleweeds may seem like an aimless job, but it’s essential to base safety, explained Senior Airman Andrew-David Dalton, 366th CES heavy equipment operator.

“When they pile up against the perimeter fence along the outside, it becomes a security hazard,” he said, “So, we pull them away from the fence and burn them.”

More than anything, the Dirtboys lay the groundwork – literally – to ensure the generation of F-15 sorties, the wing’s top priority.

“We do anything horizontal,” explained Staff Sgt. Brandon Davis, 366th CES heavy equipment operator.

They lay the foundation for others to build upon, focusing mainly on runways, taxiways, roadways and sidewalks.

“You guys couldn’t do anything without us,” Dalton said. “You couldn’t get to work without roads, you couldn’t fly aircraft without a runway – we do all the things that nobody wants to do, including burning tumbleweeds.”

Recently, the focus has been on roadway projects, reconstructing anything that is unserviceable or unsafe.

“We have to find defective pavement, cut it out, rip it out, compact the base and put new material in,” Dalton said.

While every job has its perks, there’s always a setback.

“When it comes to paving, it’s the heat,” Davis said, “That’s our setback; it’s hot – very hot.”

With weather peaking around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat of the asphalt can be a lot to deal with.

“At the plant it comes out a little bit over 350; once it gets here it’s probably sitting around 310,” Davis explained. “Asphalt at 300 and something degrees is no joke.”

Although the Dirtboys are no strangers to heat, they’re also quite familiar with the cold; snow removal being a big portion of their job.

For Dalton, it’s the best part of his job.

“I hate snow, so seeing it go away is life,” he joked. “Plus you stay busy.”

Whether it’s fixing defects on the airfield, laying asphalt, running a sweeper or a crane, commitment and dedication is present in every task.

After nine years in the career field, Davis still shows unwavering pride in his job and his wingmen.

“If you want to be the hardest worker on base, come work for us; come be a Dirtboy,” he said. “If you want a good trade, come be a Dirtboy. If you want to be around good, funny, self-motivated people – Dirtboys are that way.”