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100th CES “Dirt Boyz” foundational to mission success

An airfield sweeper drives across the flight line March 12, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment shop clears the flight line daily of foreign object debris. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

An airfield sweeper drives across the flight line March 12, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment shop clears the flight line daily of foreign object debris. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Rihlen Mital, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment journeyman, poses for a photo as a “Dirt Boy” during a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. “Dirt Boyz” work in a variety of weather conditions when completing construction projects in support of the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Rihlen Mital, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment journeyman, poses for a photo as a “Dirt Boy” during a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. “Dirt Boyz” work in a variety of weather conditions when completing construction projects in support of the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Graham Thornton, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron groundsman, and a member of the pavements and construction equipment shop, hammers a stake into the ground to complete a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Thornton was part of a team assigned to expand a sidewalk near the child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Graham Thornton, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron groundsman, and a member of the pavements and construction equipment shop, hammers a stake into the ground to complete a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Thornton was part of a team assigned to expand a sidewalk near the child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

The entrance to the pavements and construction equipment shop. The Airmen of the shop, known as “Dirt Boyz,” are the subject matter experts when it comes to operating heavy machinery used for base construction projects. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

The entrance to the pavements and construction equipment shop. The Airmen of the shop, known as “Dirt Boyz,” are the subject matter experts when it comes to operating heavy machinery used for base construction projects. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A group of 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment Airmen work to expand a sidewalk near the base child development center March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The Airmen, known as “Dirt Boyz”, work on various infrastructure projects necessary for the functioning of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A group of 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment Airmen work to expand a sidewalk near the base child development center March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The Airmen, known as “Dirt Boyz,” work on various infrastructure projects necessary for the functioning of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Airman 1st Class Tyler Miller, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment apprentice, operates an excavator to complete a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Referred to as “Dirt Boyz”, pavements and construction equipment Airmen utilize a variety of vehicles and handheld tools to maintain the base infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Airman 1st Class Tyler Miller, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment apprentice, operates an excavator to complete a sidewalk construction project March 11, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Referred to as “Dirt Boyz," pavements and construction equipment Airmen utilize a variety of vehicles and handheld tools to maintain the base infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF Mildenhall, England --

The 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment shop at RAF Mildenhall, England, performs a critical role in establishing perimeter security and runway access essential for the success of the Bloody Hundredth mission.  

Known as “Dirt Boyz,” pavements and construction equipment Airmen use a variety of tools to complete their construction projects, including handheld equipment like shovels, chainsaws, sledgehammers, levels and post hole diggers, while also relying on airfield sweeper vehicles and front-end loaders.

“The main vehicles we use are the sweeper and front-end loader, and that’s what we’re using probably eighty percent of the time,” said Staff Sgt. Rihlen Mital, 100th CES pavements and construction equipment journeyman. “With the sweeper we’re either cleaning the base or we’re cleaning the airfield, and loaders are one of our most versatile vehicles. You can put forks on it, a bucket, you can excavate with it - you can do a lot of things with the loader.”

It’s the tools they use, along with the intensity they display for their work, which enables the “Dirt Boyz” to finish construction projects in all types of weather.

“You work in a lot of brutal conditions, whether it’s heat or cold, wet or dry,” said Airman 1st Class Tyler Miller, 100th CES pavements and construction equipment apprentice. “It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of grit, a lot of determination. You just have to be prepared all day, every day.”

It’s frequently disturbances on the runway which necessitate a response from the “Dirt Boyz." Whether it be a rock on the flight line or a piece of pavement coming loose, small variations can lead to big consequences for transiting aircraft.

“With the refuelers taking off, we have to make sure the runway is free from foreign object debris,” Mital said. “We also have to make sure it’s in good repair.”

The “Dirt Boyz” not only serve an important role in maintaining flight operations through their runway maintenance, but they also preserve the condition of the fencing around base, a vital component of perimeter security.

“Another important responsibility is keeping our perimeter fence intact and making sure there are no holes,” Miller said.  “We make sure it’s still standing and serving its purpose.”

The “Dirt Boyz” accomplish whatever construction task is deemed necessary for the sustainment of the mission. They maintain a solid base infrastructure which supports the 100th Air Refueling Wing in projecting agile and responsive global air refueling.

“Whether it be the airfield, fencing, or fixing some sidewalks around base, it’s important for us to do our job correctly the right way and do it on time,” Miller said. “The Dirt Boyz are the foundation of the mission.”