Inside the 908th: “Dirt Boys” - Laying the Foundation of the Air Force Reserve

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  • 908th Airlift Wing

They’re called “Dirt Boys.”

But for the men and women of the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron Pavements and Construction Equipment section, Air Force Specialty Code 3E2X1, the characterization is far from derogatory; it’s a badge of honor.

“That label, that moniker, whatever you want to call it, literally goes back down those who actually developed who we are as a career field,” explained Tech. Sgt. Kevin Summersill, 908 CES P&CE specialist. “The patch itself, and the tag ‘Dirt Boys’, represents us as a team.”

P&CE specialists inspect pavement for surface, base, and sub-base damage or defects, and repair damaged or defective areas by removing and replacing joint and crack sealant, surface overlays, and seal coats.  They are responsible for planning, constructing, and repairing airfield pavements, roads, streets, curbs, surface mats, membranes, and other improved areas using paving and surfacing procedures.

“Nothing moves unless we are out there,” said Tech. Sgt. Demarcus Cade, 908 CES P&CE specialist.  “There’s no way an air base can function without us.  If the airfield is in disarray, if there are cracks in the pavement or debris, flight operations shut down. We are a necessity.”

Additionally, Airmen in this AFSC interpret construction drawings and surveys using information such as subgrade contours and grade alignment, determine material and equipment requirements, and prepare cost estimates for construction activities.

They also take soil, aggregate, asphalt, and concrete samples for laboratory tests, and provide erosion control.

“The best part of this job is working with the hardest working members of the Air Force,” said Summersill.  “We travel all over the world providing the expertise and capabilities other bases don’t have.  We operate heavy machinery, cut fences, put fences together… you name it, we do all the heavy lifting.”

Not only do the “Dirt Boys” plan and complete construction and maintenance projects, but they also operate water well drilling and rock crushing equipment and perform quarry clearing and base denial operations as required.

Acceptance into this specialty requires a minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score of 40 on the mechanical portion, normal color vision, and the ability to routinely lift 100 pounds. Completion of high school with courses in general science, shop mechanics, and use of drawings is desirable.

Cade further explained the benefits of the ‘brotherhood’, as he calls it, aren’t limited to the military, but positively impact members lives.

“Just like any construction project, if you are looking to start or build a family, to build a life, you need a strong foundation,” he said.  “We are that foundation.”

If you are interested in a part-time career with full-time benefits as a Reserve Citizen Airman with the 908th Airlift Wing, please contact our Recruiting staff at 334-953-6737.