Author Topic: Base a hive of activity  (Read 1801 times)

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Offline schart28

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Base a hive of activity
« on: December 22, 2007, 17:27:17 »
The Intelligencer

Here at Canada's military air transport hub, life seems to only get busier with each passing day.

"Busy is our new norm," Col. Mike Hood, the base commanding officer, said in a recent interview.

Since 2001, the hectic pace for base staff has been building. But in the last year, there have been new tangible, visible signs of the demand for their efforts.

Last summer, construction was launched on a $400-million plan for the base. It's expected to last four years.

"How often do you actually get that tangible proof that we're on an upward vector?" said Hood. "There is a very palpable sense of optimism from everyone I've spoken to, even those who've been released from the military."

Those who are leaving the Canadian Forces locally aren't generally leaving because they're unhappy, he said; many just want to move on to other things and plan to remain in the region.

And Hood, who is now on his third tour in Trenton, said there's never been a better time to be here.

"We've got tons of construction going on; we've got new aircraft; we've got a great mission. I couldn't have written a better plan. I couldn't conceive of a negative point, and I say that sincerely."

It's difficult, if not impossible, to drive along Highway 2 through the base without noticing that something big is happening.

From the highway at the base's eastern limit, bulldozers and other heavy equipment are seen along the fences. Workers in hardhats and fluorescent orange and yellow vests seem to be everywhere, with new structures rising steadily from what used to be large stretches of grass or old pavement.

A crane towers over what will soon be the temporary hangar for the Canadian Forces' largest-ever aircraft, the newly-bought CC-177 Globemaster III transports, the Canadian version of the Boeing C-17. Two are now based here; the final two on order are to arrive in March or April.

 Newer CC-130 Hercules planes have also been promised, but no contract has been announced.

Construction is why Maj. Steve MacEwen never seems to sit still.

MacEwen is the wing's construction engineering officer, the man overseeing all the new development.

Asked how his job is these days, MacEwen couldn't help but laugh.

"It's hectic," he said. "Right now we're definitely in the limelight. We're getting the new state-of-the-art buildings to deal with our new equipment and capabilities here.

"In the meantime many projects, including a temporary Globemaster hangar, parking space for aircraft, a high-tech weapons range, and a building to house the base's nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons response unit has are to be finished no later than this summer.

"And we haven't started any real hangars yet," MacEwen said. Permanent homes for the Globemasters are to get their start this fall.

MacEwen said his 330-person engineering squadron are "beavering away" at their rather daunting jobs, but doing so happily.

"We are getting a lot of infrastructure money; we haven't increased personnel-wise. So the people we do have are working very, very hard.

"My impression is people are very happy to feel challenged and relevant," said MacEwen. "Everything we do these days has immediate impact on the Canadian Forces."

Back in his office, Hood shares the same pride in his staff and their work. He calls the arrival of the new planes and construction projects "proof positive that the work people do here is valued. That's a pretty powerful motivator."

The wing commander said he's confident about the year ahead because of the overall staff commitment, the federal investments, a strong group of commanding officers and public and political support in Trenton and Belleville.

"With our new capability and new infrastructure, and the renewed sense of pride and optimism of the entire team here at 8 Wing, I'm more confident that I've ever been in my time at 8 Wing that we can respond to any demand or challenge that's presented to us in 2008."

a part time soldier with a full time problem


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Re: Base a hive of activity
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 18:15:25 »

MacEwen said his 330-person engineering squadron are "beavering away" at their rather daunting jobs, but doing so happily.

Too cute....Engineers...."beavering away" per their cap badge! CHIMO!