Building a better base with sweat, metal

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Michael Stuart
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Usually when someone breaks into an office or manipulates their way into a safe, the average individual would be alarmed, but breaking and entering is just in a day's work for the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron.

When not conducting a breaking and entering, the 786th CES builds, repairs and maintains structures all around Ramstein. Depending on the job, they could be working in their own shop or on-location.

"I think my job greatly impacts the mission here at Ramstein," said Senior Airman Kyle Lahtinen, 786th CES structural journeyman. "No one can do their job unless they have a facility where they can work."

Everyone has a job to do on base, but they can't complete their jobs successfully if they don't have the facilities and buildings to work out of. The CES ensures every Airman on base has an adequate structure to work out of.

"Here in the metal shop, we install a lot of doors, windows, safety handrails and a lot of fixed ladders and stairs," said Lahtinen. "We work on anything structural."

With Ramstein being such a large base with lots of construction, the welding shop, along with the rest of CES, keeps busy.

"We usually receive about 30 to 40 work orders a month," said Tech. Sgt. James Johnson, 786th CES lock shop NCO in charge.

According to Lahtinen, a work order generally requires the CES shop to go out and improve the safety of certain structures. Despite the shop consisting of just Lahtinen and a younger Airman, they work together to get the job done.

"I feel satisfied when I get a full day's worth of work in," said Lahtinen. "Being able to get hands on, seeing and fixing things with my bare hands and being able to teach someone else is gratifying."