Wyoming Guardsmen get hands-on training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Natalie Stanley
  • 153rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The mountains of Oberammergau, Germany, echoed with the sounds of hammers, heavy equipment and general construction early on Aug. 13, as the members of the 153rd Civil  Engineer Squadron began their annual training at the NATO School.

The structure shop is just one part of the 153 CES that was off and running early in the morning, tasked with completing a car port project at the NATO School recreation center.

The members of the structure shop are self-labeled, "jack of all trades," according to Staff Sgt. Brad Ketcher, carpenter for structures.

"We can cover everything from rough framing, forming up concrete, pouring concrete, laying brick, drywall and some sheet metals and welding," said Ketcher.

Members receive their initial training on many of these skills at a six month hands-on technical school in Gulfport, Miss. They also learn attention to detail, with a lot of math and measurements required.

"It takes a lot of measurements to get everything square when building," said Ketcher. "Sometimes it takes a lot of time to get everything correct, but it'll be done right and that's the quality of work that we do."

For this particular project, the six members of the structure team have a lot of work to accomplish.

According to Staff Sgt. Brad Catron, 153 CES, over the next two weeks they will set up batter boards to find a square to work from, complete prep work for brackets that will hold the main support beams of the structure and lay fast set concrete.

With many of the structure team members new to working together this job provides the perfect opportunity to broaden their skill set in a real world environment.

"This training is a win-win situation for both us and NATO," said Lt. Col. Stan White, commander 153 CES. "We receive real-world training and the NATO school receives free labor."

With a lot of work ahead, the team is focused and ready to get down to business.

"This is a great project to be on, with a great group to work with and a lot of really skilled people," said Catron.