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News > 1st ECEG provides full-spectrum engineering resources for AFCENT
1st ECEG provides full-spectrum engineering resources for AFCENT

Posted 12/27/2012   Updated 12/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Craig Carper
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/27/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA --  -- In March, the previous commander of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group unveiled a new operational concept in the civil engineer community; the merger of the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, deployed from Andersen Air Force Base, and the 577th EPBG to create the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group.

Col. John Allen, 577th EPBS former commander, fused the 1st ERHG a theater-heavy construction capability with the 577th EPBG, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan "outside-the-wire" engineer force into a full spectrum engineer resource for the U.S. Air Force Central commander.

The creation of the 1st ECEG centralized and improved all support services for Afghanistan and Arabian Gulf current and future engineer requirements. Additionally, it provides ready forces the ability to respond to emerging combat commander needs and maintain a ready engineer "9/11" emergency engineer response force.

"In coordination with theater engineer commanders, we can adjust, augment, or forward deploy with joint forces to get the mission done anywhere at any time" said Col. Pat Baker, 1st ECEG commander.

Traditional Air Force civil engineers deploy to maintain an airbase, execute expeditionary bed down of forces and missions, manage contracted construction projects, and complete minor troop labor projects.

The 1st ECEG, is not organized to maintain an airbase but rather provides the ability to design and execute heavy troop construction in addition to presenting quick response life, health and safety repair teams. Furthermore, the group is able to provide design and build projects along with an inspection and base master planning capability while providing a full spectrum of outside the wire troop support.

"Our strategy with this program is focused on continually looking over the horizon to ensure we have the flexibility to meet the enduring long term commitments in the gulf and surge to meet immediate requirements as needed," Baker said.

The 1st ECEG is comprised of more than 600 members stationed at five primary locations throughout the area of responsibility. The 1st ECEG, 557th ERHG and the 577th EPBG have their headquarters based with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing while the 777th EPBG headquarters is located at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Currently the 1st ECEG has members forward deployed to 16 locations throughout the AOR. The squadrons are comprised of Airmen from active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve forces from more than 50 bases throughout the world.

"Having active, Guard and Reserves working together from both Prime BEEF and RED HORSE has helped our mission by leveraging the training we gain from the centralized knowledge and experience of our colleagues," said Chief Master Sgt. Brent Sheehan, 557th ERHG chief enlisted manager.

Although this concept is relatively new, indicators show the program is having a positive impact on the joint mission.

"This initiative is working as it was designed to function," Lt. Col. Aaron Altweis, 577th EPBG commander said. "It's the first time in civil engineer history to bring full force engineering capabilities to the theater under a single commander - it is the first time heavy construction, light construction, repair and professional services are centrally managed under one commander. The commander can adjust his resources and allocate them where and when needed, and streamline the process to expedite support to the battle space commanders."

With the one year mark of this unique initiative approaching in March, the group continues to analyze and adjust to ensure it remains a model program allowing the 1st ECEG to set the standard for civil engineer efficiency and provide a full spectrum of engineering solutions while remaining flexible in this resource constrained environment.

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