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BAT program helps Airmen learn pride for 1st base

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Greg, Base Appearance Team member, throws cut branches in the back of a truck at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Greg, Base Appearance Team member, throws cut branches in the back of a truck at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017. The Base Appearance Team has collected over 250 tons of green waste including overgrown tree branches and weeds in just under three months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the Base Appearance Team cuts tree branches at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017.

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the Base Appearance Team cuts tree branches at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017. Tree branches left unattended overgrow and can block parking spaces, walkways, and roads. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the Base Appearance Team cut grass and pull weeds at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the Base Appearance Team cut grass and pull weeds at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017. The BAT focuses on cleaning up and maintaining areas on base not covered through contractors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the Base Appearance Team pulls out overgrown weeds at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the Base Appearance Team pulls out overgrown weeds at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017. The team has collected 3,200 pounds of debris in just under three months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Boles, Base Appearance Team member, cuts down an overgrown tree branch at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Boles, Base Appearance Team member, cuts down an overgrown tree branch at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 2, 2017. The BAT is a new program, which began in July, that takes new Airmen from the First Term Airmen Course, security forces, bay orderly and physical-training testing to help do maintenance around base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- First impressions are important to the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron.
   

At 100 years old, the installation has hosted a variety of events including distinguished guests, and throughout that time, the installation’s civil engineers and contractors have kept the historic base’s appearance vibrant and maintained.

Through contracts, Joint Base Langley-Eustis keeps up its physical appearance. The contractors cut the grass, trim bushes, and sweep the roads, but they cover just that, a contract. Although those are the people most drivers and onlookers see, they are not solely responsible for the base’s good looks. What’s not written in contracts is the key to taking 80 percent of a job well done to 100 percent.

“The base is about 3,600 acres,” said Master Sgt. Bryan Rosburg, 633rd CES Base Appearance Team (BAT) NCO in charge. “The contracts only cover so much. We maintain all the areas overlooked.”

The BAT is a new program that began in July and takes new Airmen from the First Term Airmen Course, 633rd Security Forces Squadron, bay orderly duty, and physical-training testing to help do the uncovered maintenance around base. The team consists of the NCO in charge, team chief, and Airmen who rotate every two weeks.

“The teamwork aspect is cool to me, because we get to see all these career fields and crafts coming together to complete one project,” said Staff Sgt. Ethan Chambers, 633rd CES BAT team chief. “It’s neat seeing them work together and get the job done.”

By having new Airmen on base help maintain the gray areas not covered under contract, the base saves money. Instead of hiring more contracted workers, it uses its biggest asset. Since most new Airmen haven’t had extensive on-the-job training yet, it’s not as big of an impact to the mission as taking out more qualified workers already established in their squadrons.

“Doing this immediately establishes pride in them from taking care of the base that most of them live in and all of them work in,” Chambers said. “They have great attitudes, and are ready to make a difference. These brand new Airmen have so much pride about this being their first base.”

With the help of the Airmen, the BAT has picked up 3,200 pounds of debris and 250 tons of green waste in just under three months. So far, they’ve cleaned up Memorial Park, the Bateman library, volleyball courts, most of the running trails along Sweeney, Dodd, and Nealy, and other areas around base.

“It’s a learn-as-we-go type of program,” Rosburg said. “It has a bad stigma because when people think of base beautification, they think, ‘Oh that’s where all the troublemakers go to pick up trash and do landscaping.’ This was created without that intent.”

According to Chambers, it’s unacceptable for a military installation to go abused. He said the overall look of JBLE shows the U.S. has the best Air Force in the world and people should always remember that.