With a cut of a circular saw, a swing of a hammer and the vibrating of a reciprocating saw, seven Air Force engineers demolished walls and ripped out flooring to make room for an idea.

With a cut of a circular saw, a swing of a hammer and the vibrating of a reciprocating saw, seven Air Force engineers demolished walls and ripped out flooring to make room for an idea.

On his many battlefield circulation trips, Col. Mark H. Landes, the Task Force Bulldog brigade commander had the idea to create an open space in the Joint Operations Center so people could readily hold huddles and discuss current operations.

“It’s really all about giving the guys in the JOC a way to better track all the units in the battlefield and have more situational awareness,” said Landes. “It’s the sights and sounds of progress.”

The Air Force engineers, whose specialties range from electrical, structural and plumbing, assigned to the 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron, are a group of reservists from all over America where demolishing and rebuilding is all in a day’s work.

“I absolutely get job satisfaction,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Caume, an electrician from Blue Springs who has spent the past decade and half in the military. “People are really appreciative of the work we do. They often times are living out in an austere environment, and it’s great to help them with basic living amenities.”

As a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Caume brings little tips and tricks to get jobs done fast and efficiently, and shares them with other electrical engineers in the unit.

“I love doing this job, because it’s better than just being stuck in one place and becoming complacent, because we are always out on missions tackling different problems and working together to solve them,” he said.

The airmen, who deploy as part of a civil engineer team, typically have worked in the construction industry for more than 10 years, often times have two or more construction degrees, and are self-employed – either owning or working in a family–run construction business.

This intimate knowledge of construction is a blessing when there are too many requirements and too few personnel and resources.

“We always look for work wherever we go, fixing pumps or replacing a building’s electrical wiring. It really is all in a day’s work,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Romine of Farmington, Mo.

Afghanistan is landlocked, so almost every construction item is either trucked through Pakistan or delivered by air. Often, due to weather and cloud cover that obscures 9,500 ft. mountain ranges, helicopters cannot deliver needed building supplies.

“We don’t have a Home Depot here in Afghanistan,” said Frank Monacelli, a structures specialist from Pittsburgh on his second deployment. “So whenever we have a job to finish, but no construction material, we just look around the forward operating base or combat outpost and try and reuse whatever we can and use basic parts and pieces for a short-term fix while we wait for materials to arrive.”

Within 68 hours, the engineers of the 577th EPBS had remodeled the JOC, making it easier to do their jobs and help other soldiers do their jobs better, too.