ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. | The 28th Civil Engineer Squadron was one of four organizations to receive the prestigious Department of Defense 2016 National Preparedness Award Sept. 21, 2017.
The Honorable Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense & Global Security, presented the award to Bob Cronan, the flight chief of readiness and emergency management, and Master Sgt. Timothy Bricker, the superintendent of the emergency readiness flight, both assigned to the 28th CES, at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon.
“This is a significant award,” Cronan said. “It shows that we are not only taking hold of the president’s expectations, but exceeding them, which makes Ellsworth and the local community a safer, better place to work and live.”
Throughout the year the flights provided support and education throughout the Black Hills community. Specifically supporting the Rapid City Police Department in disposing of five World War II unexploded ordnances, safeguarding 14 people in the process; steering the National Prepare-A-Thon; and educating more than 2,000 local residents on emergency preparation actions.
Additionally, the fire department led joint live-fire exercises, helping train 15 local departments — solidifying local agreements, tactics, techniques and procedures — as well as maintaining the emergency link with the Pennington County, Box Elder and Rapid City joint response team to ensure the overall community’s safety.
“We felt proud when we won the award,” Bricker said. “What I believe contributed to our success was the blend of multiple career fields. That itself showed the DoD we are in this together to make the area safer. While we don’t not need the validation to know we are doing it right, it adds fuel to the Airmen, and that’s the icing on the cake.”
The national preparedness goal defines what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies through prevention, protection, mitigation and recovery.
Risks the Airmen train for include natural hazards such as winter storms, flooding, tornadoes; accidental hazards such as hazardous material incidents; and man-made threats such as terrorism.
“None of this could be done without every member who works under these sections,” Cronan explained. “We need to be prepared at all times. If we aren’t then when something does happen we wouldn’t be able to recover as efficiently or effectively. Doing this not only keeps us safe, but the community as a whole.”