Shaw invests in environmental, training missions

Selvin Nelson, contractor, uses an excavator to prepare the ground for water and sewer line placement at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Oct. 11, 2017.

Selvin Nelson, contractor, uses an excavator to prepare the ground for water and sewer line placement at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Oct. 11, 2017. Nelson is one of the contractors working on the Fire Station 2 building, which will help the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters perform their daily tasks while on the range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

The building is for 20th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters and wildland firefighters to store equipment and base operations out of.

Davauds Ragin, contractor, solders water lines in the rafters of the Fire Station 2 building being constructed at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Oct. 11, 2017. The building is for 20th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters and wildland firefighters to store equipment and base operations out of. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

The unfinished Shaw Wildland Support Module building stands at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Oct. 11, 2017.

The unfinished Shaw Wildland Support Module building stands at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Oct. 11, 2017. Poinsett Range is used by various branches of the armed forces to train and prepare for both ground and air combat operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- A new Shaw Wildland Support Module building, which will also act as Fire Station 2 for the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron, is currently under construction at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C.

The building, located next to the 20th Operations Support Squadron range operations building, will include offices, a kitchenette and equipment bays for 20th CES firefighters and wildland firefighters and is scheduled to be completed February 2018.

“(The building will) increase our capabilities of doing prescribed fires,” said Ronald June, 20th CES natural and cultural resources chief. “One of the benefits of doing a prescribed fire is it helps the forest we manage for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, which is an endangered species”

Prescribed, or controlled, fires help prevent future fires and encourage new growth in the forest, promoting the health and development of animals in the ecosystem.

While promoting Poinsett’s environmental mission, which includes monitoring wildlife and vegetation as well as surveying the area for various species and ecosystem wellness, the controlled burns also ensure the range is accessible to the 20th Fighter Wing and other Defense Department units for training.

“It also removes forest fuels so that if you do have a wildfire on the range it’s not a catastrophic fire and it doesn’t curtail the flying, training mission as much as it would if we weren’t burning,” said June.

With the new facility, Shaw firefighters will have increased resources for fighting fires and supporting 20th FW pilots.

“Everything we do out there is to help benefit the pilots,” said Staff Sgt. Camrin Northrop, 20th CES firefighter. “If they need to be there at 2 o’clock in the morning, we’ll be out there at 2 o’clock in the morning so they can train. We’re out there so if something happens to them while they’re in the aircraft and they have to eject, or if one of the munitions they launched does happen to go off target a little bit, we’ll be able to get out there quick and extinguish the fire.”

Northrop said Poinsett is extremely vital to every component of the armed forces and provides a location for various branches of service to perform exercises, from ground training to target practice with laser-guided munitions, increasing mission readiness and joint operability.

By investing in the capabilities of the 20th CES and the range, the 20th FW works to maintain proper stewardship of its land and competent, combat-ready Weasels.