Dirt Boyz lay the foundation for the 51st FW

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Thomas Sjoberg
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

They're known as the Dirt Boyz, a title that resonates with pride and excellence among the dedicated Airmen of the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment flight. These Airmen play a crucial role behind the scenes, ensuring the 51st Fighter Wing is prepared and ready to defend the skies over the ROK.

Building the foundation

"Our primary mission is to make sure the foundation beneath the jets is rock solid,” said Staff Sgt. Bryce Cook, 51st CES pavements and equipment craftsman. “We're the backbone of airfield maintenance and construction, ensuring that the runways, taxiways, and other critical surfaces are in optimal condition for our fighter jets to execute their mission."

Dirt Boyz play a crucial role in maintaining the installation by tending to tasks like preventative and corrective maintenance on roads, sidewalks, drainage systems, and security fencing. They also address pavement defects, inspections, and manage winter snow removal efforts.

These versatile Airmen are extensively trained in operating heavy construction machinery like backhoes and excavators. These skills are invaluable for executing a wide range of construction and maintenance projects across the base, guaranteeing the 51st FW remains mission-ready at all times.

While their primary duty is ensuring Osan’s airfield is in top condition to endure the demands of a high-tempo operational environment, the Dirt Boyz also shoulder a diverse array of responsibilities.

They recently worked on a project to build a driveway for the 51st Security Forces Squadron's military working dog unit to provide a designated area for their vehicles.

Making Jets Soar

The Dirt Boyz are essential to getting aircraft off the ground swiftly and safely. By meticulously inspecting and repairing surface damage, cracks and defects on the airfield, they guarantee flight operations remain unhindered.

"There's no room for error in our line of work,” said Staff Sgt. Rodney Grant, 51st CES pavements and construction craftsman. “If the airfield isn't in top shape, it affects the entire mission. We take immense pride in knowing our efforts enable the wing to defend, execute, and sustain its mission effectively."

The Heart of Camaraderie

Being a part of the Dirt Boyz team is not just a job, it's a way of life. These Airmen forge a unique camaraderie, which Cook describes as something truly special.

"Working alongside these dedicated individuals creates a bond that extends far beyond the workplace,” Cook said. “The challenges we face together as a team foster a sense of unity that's hard to find elsewhere."

Grant said the sense of pride that comes with being a dirt boy is immeasurable.

"Being a dirt boy means being part of a team that ensures the success of the whole base,” said Grant. “It's an honor to know that our hard work directly contributes to our ability to defend the freedom of 51 million people living in the ROK.”

The Dirt Boyz are the unsung heroes ensuring the mission takes flight. Their dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment make them integral to the wing's success. The next time a jet soars into the Osan skies, remember the Dirt Boyz who paved the way.