Since the 1970s the 482nd Civil Engineering Squadron have been making trips to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park assisting in preserving the historical site, but this was the first year they were joined by Marines from the 45th Combat Logistics Regiment and Airmen from the 301st Fighter Wing.
For the Airmen and Marines, the project serves as a hands-on training environment. This year, they are renovating crew quarters, which will allow for larger research teams that visit the site studying marine and bird life.
The project started August 1st and ran through the 28th.
“We do these renovations depending on what requests we get from the National Parks Service,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Hanck, the 482nd CES superintendent and project manager for the renovations. “The parks service will put out requests for the work that needs to be done and on the IRT website. If the work falls in line with our duties we will come out and do it for them.”
The Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) website funnels requests out to Department of Defense entities that use the work requests to facilitate training for their respective units.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Hanck.
When it came down to Marines and Airmen working together, results were better than one may expect given the good-natured rivalry between the branches.
“These guys are pretty impressive because of their knowledge and the amount of patience they show when teaching me,” said Senior Airman Michael Chinchilla, a 482nd CES engineering assistant. “This has been a great training experience for me working with Marines and Airmen from a different base. I feel confident enough to where I could do stuff like this on my own and it’s all thanks to these guys.”
Unlike Trinosky, Chinchilla does not come from a construction background. He is a police officer with the North Miami Beach Police Department.
“I’m really enjoying myself by being able to pass on my knowledge and techniques to guys who are less experienced,” said Trinosky. “Airman Chinchilla has picked up on everything I’ve taught him pretty quick and he’s so respectful. He treats everyone like an officer.”
Mixing Airmen and Marines on this project was not a coincidence. It was orchestrated by Marine Master Sgt. Marcelino Marquez, the 45th CLR logistics planner, in order to improve working relationships between the branches when they are in deployed locations.
“It’s my job to ensure our Marines integrate with other branches,” said Marquez. “The best part of a joint effort like this is how Airmen and Marines get to see how the other works. This way, when they are in combat zones they are more familiar with each other.”
Fort Jefferson was a project abandoned by the Army in 1874, but was intended to protect strategic deepwater anchorages in North America. Though never completed, more than 30 years of work were put into the project.