134th CES engineering assistants train abroad Published June 22, 2018 By Staff Sgt. Ben Mellon 134th Air Refueling Wing Camp Adazi, Latvia -- Engineering assistants from the 134th Civil Engineer Squadron came to Latvia to perform their normal duties but also get training not readily available at their home station, May 4-19. The EA troops had been tasked with using their equipment to lay out forms to pour concrete for slabs that buildings will be built upon in a later portion of the project. “We are going to be in charge of laying out forms and making sure the elevations for the different layers of soil, sand and rock are where they need to be,” said Master Sgt. Josh McMurtery, engineering assistant non-commissioned officer in charge for the 134th CES. EA’s are able to use their equipment to set points for the corners and the elevation of slabs so the buildings have a perfectly-squared concrete pad to be built upon. “We come into play when making sure the slabs are at the elevation they need to be and squared,” said McMurtery. “If the slabs aren’t square then the buildings we are putting on top of them will not fit and this could become a problem easily.” During this project they had the opportunity to work with batter boards which has given them the opportunity to train on something they don’t normally train on outside of a deployment for training environment. “Here we are going to be putting up batter boards, which is something we don’t get to do regularly,” said McMurtery. “We only do this when we are working with forming slabs and doing the specific things we are doing here. It’s one of the tasks we are required to be trained on and perform, but we only typically get to train on these during Silver Flag, which is primarily a training exercise, so it’s cool to be able to come here and train but be working on a real world task.” New EA technicians were able to come on the Latvia DFT and gain invaluable training from the more experienced technicians after completing Tech school and learning the basics of their career field. “It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to come out and get to work with the more-experienced EAs in our shop,” said Senior Airmen Brooke Gibbons, an EA for the 134th CES. “Obviously they don’t have the time to teach you everything that you will need to know for your job in tech school so having this opportunity to come out and learn from experienced EA’s in a real world environment, things I didn’t get to learn in tech school, has been a great.” Not only have new EA technicians been given unique training opportunities, but some of the more-experienced technicians have been given the opportunity to step-in to lead the project and gain experience for the next step in their careers as leaders. “I was made the team lead for this DFT to oversee we get the job done and get some great training for our younger Airmen,” said Tech Sgt. Justin Gooden, an EA supervisor for the 134th CES. “We are trying to get a lot of the tech sgts in charge on this project to take some of the roles of the senior NCOs and let some of the younger NCOs like myself get an opportunity to step up into a leadership role. It’s been a great experience for myself and some of the other tech’s to have the chance to lead.” The engineering assistants are just one vital piece of the CE mission that continues to allow the 134th Civil Engineer Squadron to uphold their long standing reputation of success across the Air National Guard.