AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates –
Imagine this: a fighter aircraft has no power resistance to catch it, causing it to run off the runway upon landing. Or this: a major power outage inside a medical treatment facility keeps patients from receiving care.
How does Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates prevent these life-threatening scenarios from happening? That’s where the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production flight comes in.
They provide two main capabilities: maintaining power generators for buildings across the installation, and ensuring the integrity of the fighter aircraft arresting barrier systems on the flight line.
The flight, also known as “Power Pro,” supplies electricity to all of the facilities of ADAB, to Air Force and joint forces, as well as for coalition partners, some with generators as big as a trailer unit.
“The average person or Airman assumes that electricity is just there, but doesn’t know where the power comes from, or how it is produced,” said Staff Sgt. Shaun Kelly, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production journeyman. “Electrical power production is extremely critical to supporting the missions at ADAB.”
The other main half of the Power Pro flight involves another life-saving capability on the flight line. The “Power Pro” barrier maintenance shop’s job centers on a 195-foot-long cable that assists in the case of a fighter jet in need of an emergency landing at ADAB.
The cable is part of the BAK-12 Aircraft Arresting System, and stretches across the runway, with arresting cable donuts on it. The center of the cable has a red-painted-donut attached to a tail hook that is designed to catch the aircraft and help it come to a stop.
“The barriers are the only lifesaving equipment on the airfield for fighter aircraft that utilize a tail hook,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Gentry, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production and barrier maintenance craftsman. “This means that no U.S. fighter aircraft will be able to fly without the barriers being in service. These barriers save millions of dollars in aircraft, but more importantly, they save the lives of the pilots in the aircraft if ever in an emergency situation.”
The Airman perform maintenance checks on each and every piece of equipment daily to make sure that the mission is not critically impacted.
“It is important to be punctual on our daily checks because we can foresee potential problems, therefore, we can take the immediate actions to prevent equipment shutdown and outages. Punctuality is key for our job.” said Kelly.
Through promptness, whether it’s with the power generators or barriers, the electrical “Power Pro” Airmen are ensuring full capability for all assets of ADAB, and ultimately keeping everyone safe and all units properly powered.
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing website.