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Air Force Engineers Help Put BPT Back In Business

Airfield Damaged By Rita Powered Up And Running

Two airmen with the 147th Civil Engineer Flight wing aiding relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, along with a civilian contractor, took some time last week to help get Southeast Texas Regional Airport near Port Arthur, TX, up and running again.

Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Milliard, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the engineer flight, and power production craftsman Staff Sgt. Al Martinez were conducting an airfield damage assessment September 25 with civilian contractor Claudette Manning, when they were approached by BPT manager Hal Ross.

Ross, according to an Air Force release, told the crew even when the debris and tree limbs littering the field were removed, the facility would not be able to reopen as power was still down at the airport,and the backup 100kw generator wasn't working.

Sgt. Martinez took that as a challenge.

"In five minutes, he had the generator up and running," Sergeant Milliard said.

Martinez and the others spent the next several hours of a typically hot and humid southern Texas afternoon reestablishing the power grid at the field, by connecting several other generators that soldiers had brought to the airport.

The Airmen also restored power to the airport's ILS system and air conditioning system, in order to dry out water-damaged wiring as well as to provide relief from the heat. Martinez was also able to restore power to the fuel farm, field lights, and the Beaumont VOR located on the field.

FMI: www.af.mil

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