Inside the 908th: “Dirt Boys” - Laying the Foundation of the Air Force Reserve Published July 5, 2023 908th Airlift Wing MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- They’re called “Dirt Boys.” The “Dirt” patch, modeled here by Tech. Sgt. Cameron Doss, 908th Airlift Wing Civil Engineer Squadron, is worn by Airmen in the Pavements and Construction Equipment, Air Force Specialty Code 3E2X1, career field. Known as “Dirt Boys”, the men and women of this AFSC are responsible for operating heavy construction machinery and ensuring that airfields, roads, and other improved surfaces are free from defects or damage among a myriad of other responsibilities. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res 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. A member of the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron Pavements and Construction Equipment section, Air Force Specialty Code 3E2X1, trains on a backhoe at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, in April 2023. The backhoe is just one of many pieces of heavy equipment members of this AFSC learn to operate. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo). Photo Details / Download Hi-Res 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. A member of the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron Pavements and Construction Equipment section, Air Force Specialty Code 3E2X1, operates an excavator to clear a canal channel for storm water drainage at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, April 2023. An excavator is just one of many pieces of heavy equipment members of this AFSC learn to operate. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo). Photo Details / Download Hi-Res 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.