Dirt Boyz pave the way

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Their Air Force Specialty Code makes them Pavements and Construction Equipment Airmen, but across the Air Force they are known by one universal nickname: the "Dirt Boyz."

The Dirt Boyz, who at Holloman fall under the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron, play a vital role in maintaining and expanding the infrastructure of the base.

"We're the heavy equipment operators. Our main job is running heavy equipment," said Tech. Sgt. Adrian Roth, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 49th CES Pavements and Construction Equpiment Flight. "The reason we're called Dirt Boyz is because we're always moving dirt, so it's just kind of a nickname that stuck."

The group of around 20 Airmen at Holloman construct and maintain concrete and asphalt runways and roads; repair airfield pavement, streets and curbs; and dig ditches to expose water or power lines. If it is a job that involves moving dirt, chances are the Dirt Boyz can do it.

On the afternoon of Sept. 14, five Dirt Boyz worked under a hot New Mexico sun, using front-end loaders, road graders and dump trucks to flatten the dirt outside of the Domenici Fitness and Sports Center. They were in the early stages of extending the fitness center's parking lot, and the crew lead said they planned to work as many hours as possible for weeks until the project is complete.

Sweat and dirt settled on their faces as they worked, and a pat on their uniform would expose a cloud of embedded dust. The crew leader, Staff Sgt. David Sanders, said it can be a dirty, strenuous and sometimes dangerous job, but he enjoys every second of it.

"I love how physical this job is, and I like working with the equipment. I like every aspect of it," he said. "At the end of every day we see what we've done, and that's the best part."

He added that their job is especially important in a deployed, bare base environment where they can build from the ground up, constructing roads and airfields; digging trenches for water lines; and building concrete pads for tents or dining facilities. He spoke from experience, having already deployed four times.

While he said they often work behind the scenes, the Dirt Boyz both at Holloman and around the Air Force provide essential services that are needed virtually anywhere they go.

"Nobody really knows about us, but if we didn't exist, everybody would notice it," he said.