Here's how the Air Force's 'Dirt Boyz' keep bases working and jets soaring
- The "Dirt Boyz" of the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron keep planes flying and operations running at Luke Air Force Base and around the world.
- The unit constantly scours the runways at Luke for damage or debris, but it also does a wide variety of repair and upkeep work.
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LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona - Continuously working out in the sweltering Arizona heat, pouring concrete and maintaining the flight line, the Airmen assigned to the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron here are nicknamed the "Dirt Boyz" - and for a good reason.
"We get dirty and run heavy equipment," said Tech. Sgt. John Scherstuhl, 56th CES horizontal construction section chief. "We have stockpiles of dirt and many dump trucks. We do a lot of ground work for building pads and sidewalks."For Luke's mission of training the world's greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready airmen, the runways have to be clear for the jets to takeoff and land. "Dirt Boyz" assist in keeping the runways clear of foreign objects. They also continuously monitor for cracks in the runway's concrete, repairing any damage they discover in approximately three hours.
"Our main priority is the airfield," said Airman 1st Class Anibal Carrillo-Farias, 56th CES constructions and pavement heavy equipment craftsman. "We have to keep those jets in the air. Our mission to keep the runway in perfect condition so it doesn't hurt the jets in any way, shape or form."