Navy team completes AFWA support mission
A crane loads a 60,000 pound, 3.2 megawatt power plant and 5,000 KVA substation onto a flatbed truck Oct. 26, for its return trip to the Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center in Port Hueneme, Calif. The equipment was delivered to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., by a Mobile Utilities Support Equipment team back in July to provide temporary support to the Air Force Weather Agency headquarters facility here. At that time the Missouri River was threatening to flood the base, so the temporary portable electrical power would have been used to decrease the load on the base's generator plant and ensure AFWA's electrical power would have continued. (Air Force photo by Charles Haymond)
by Ryan Hansen
55th Wing Public Affairs
10/20/2011 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Nearly three months after delivering temporary portable electrical power equipment to the Air Force Weather Agency headquarters, the Navy Mobile Utilities Support Equipment team's mission here is complete.
The Seabees provided a 3.2 megawatt power plant in conjunction with a 5000 KVA substation to AFWA to ensure its electrical supply wouldn't be affected by possible base flooding from the Missouri River back in July.
With the river receding back to near-normal levels and the possibility of flooding virtually gone, the need for the temporary equipment has been reduced.
"We're very glad we didn't have to use the temporary power equipment," said Lt. Col. Michael Gauthier, 2d Systems Operations Squadron commander, who manages the network systems for AFWA. "But it was a relief to know that the capability was there in the event we needed it."
AFWA's $277 million computing capability pushes out more than 850 GB of weather data to warfighters around the world every day. The potential loss of power could have had a devastating effect on AFWA's ability to conduct its mission, as well as those depending on their weather data and services.
"The MUSE option came to light while we were reviewing contingency plans this past summer; the Seabees came in and provided a tremendous amount of support," Gauthier said. "They are true professionals."
The four-man Seabee team returned to Offutt on Oct. 11, to start the process of shipping the equipment back home to Port Hueneme, Calif.
The 55th Civil Engineer Squadron, as the host unit, helped the Seabees before their arrival by disconnecting their units so the Seabees could inspect their equipment safely.
"They've been tremendous hosts," said Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Sanders, a lead mechanic with the MUSE team. "They met us at the door upon arrival and have offered any support we've needed throughout this mission."
"We've built a real good rapport with CE," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Binon, a safety monitor with the mobile support team. "They've made our job a lot easier."
It will take the Seabees almost two weeks to ensure the equipment is in receivable condition. After that it will be sent back to their home station where it will remain until it is needed again.
"We have to inspect in detail our equipment to make sure there wasn't any damage done to it while it was here, either through the transition or by Mother Nature," said Petty Officer Second Class Alejandro Garcia, a lead electrician with the MUSE team.
While this mission wraps up one support effort for the MUSE team at Offutt, their equipment will continue to supply 5-megavolt amps of transformation in support of the U.S. Strategic Command headquarters building here as well.