BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
At Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, it is critical that all buildings and structures remain properly maintained for units to conduct their operations.
Civil Engineers are responsible for keeping all facilities and utilities running effectively and it’s experts like Airman Rene Cruz, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron power production engineer, which makes that happen every day.
“Here at BAF, I am a power production engineer,” said Cruz. “We help maintain the generators across the installation and the aircraft arresting systems on the runway.”
In addition to maintaining the base’s power equipment, Cruz and his team also installs, removes, and operates the electrical power generating and control systems and other associated equipment.
“Day to day, we would come in, do our preventative maintenance checks, to make sure our generators are good to go and our barriers are good to go in case of an emergency,” said Cruz. “We do a lot of preventative maintenance here. We are not a reactive Air Force Specialty Code. We check the oil to make sure there are no leaks, we check the fuel and all fluids. We are making sure that it is a well-oiled machine, running like new. We try to keep everything up-to-date and make sure everything is working properly before an emergency arises.”
According to Master Sgt. Robert Akers, 455th ECES first sergeant, Cruz is a true professional and has displayed a positive attitude throughout this deployment.
“Cruz works in the power production section, but has volunteered countless times to step outside of his comfort zone and assist our CE crafts with accomplishing the BAF mission,” said Akers. “Airman Cruz was selected last month as 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group Airman of the Month and has been a stellar performer this entire rotation.”
Hailing from Central Valley, Calif., Cruz has been in the Air Force more than a year and is currently deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
“The place I grew up didn’t have many job opportunities, so I figured joining the Air Force would give me the best opportunity to succeed in life,” said Cruz. “I came in open mechanic and got this job. I’ve always been bad at mechanics, and this job was something new for me. Since I’ve joined, I’ve been learning how to perfect this craft and I look forward to continued success at it.”
The 455th ECES mission is to provide impeccable airfield maintenance, construction and operation for Senior Airfield Authority through five key competencies: Airfield Pavements, Lighting & Infrastructure, Aircraft Arresting System Maintenance, Engineering, Master Planning & Survey Support, Project & Construction Management, and Force Protection Escorts.
“We as CE, truly provide that support the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing needs to deliver, support and deliver airpower,” said Cruz. “We repair everything around base and if we weren’t here, things wouldn’t get fixed. In case of an outage, we have backup generators to restore some of that lost power. Without power we can’t do the mission. If the runway needed repairing, the aircraft couldn’t fly. You can’t deliver airpower without aircraft in the air.”