Tracking the Unrivaled Airman
By Lt. Col. Rich Curry , 507th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published January 17, 2007
Tinker AFB, Okla. -- Editor's Note: Last September a new vision statement was released for the Air Force Reserve Command. That statement "One Air Force, same fight - an unrivaled wingman" represents a new focus for the Command, that of a strategically operational reserve force and no longer one of a force in reserve.
Being an unrivalled wingman requires more than equipment -- it requires the talented, dedicated people that have made AFRC a recognizable force, one that's forever ready, always there. The 507th Air Refueling Wing is composed of unrivaled wingman.
Here is just one of them.
Today we're tracking an unrivaled wingman called Master Sgt. William Dean.
It's difficult to catch up to an unrivaled wingman, but easy to follow his trail.
Sergeant Dean's easy-going mannerisms go hand-in-hand with his 36 years of military experience and almost conceal the fact that he has mastered virtually every skill within the civil engineer career field - and a few others to boot.
Most of civilian life he worked in construction. Originally from Missouri, the sergeant moved to Oklahoma in 1980 where he worked for a time in the oil fields as a welder. Now he's self-employed with his own construction business, "when I have time for it." "Mostly, though, I spend a lot of time here at the 507th doing whatever self-help renovation projects need to be done," he said.
And, as the Project Manager for the wing self-help program, much of his time is devoted to making life and work better for everyone else.
Since joining the wing in 1999, after 19 ½ years with the Oklahoma ANG, the sergeant has kept himself busy.
It's easy to see the imprint he has made locally - just take a walk around the wing campus. Start off at building 1048, the 465th Air Refueling Squadron building (including the life support area) which he helped remodel. Then walk down the sidewalk to the Wing Headquarters and go see where he renovated the Mission Support office areas, and commander conference room and commander office areas.
Walk to the basement and you can see where he renovated the legal office and LRS area.
Don't stop: This may qualify as part of your fit-to-fight walk.
Continue on to building 1066 to see the wing command post, Operations Group commander's office area and OG conference rooms. Next head to the main hangar, building 1030. Take a look at the resurfaced and painted hangar floor where he oversaw the contract on that project. Stroll through the completely renovated nondestructive inspection facilities then go upstairs to see the new plasma screens hung up in various training areas.
There's an emergency eyewash shower combo unit installed on the main floor area, and a renovated communications flight office area. Upstairs on the far side, the Services Flight members are enjoying their restored office complex as well.
If you really want to feel those muscles burn, start walking to the Glenwood training facility just off base where Dean and his team poured concrete pads, repaired building roofs, renovated plumbing and electrical systems to upgrade the training facility to where it is constantly being used by more military organizations in the area.
Dean said his most challenging project was installing two $40,000 compressors in
the hydraulics shops, building 1045. Each compressor had to be moved with a fork
lift and weighed about 1,200 lbs apiece. Dean orchestrated the move, ran high pressure lines and hooked it all up "There was a lot of pipe work and welding involved
while working in a very tight space," he said.
Better pack your backpack now because Dean isn't content in just improving the quality of life for his own wing. He set out to make a difference elsewhere.
During the past few years he has deployed to Kuwait twice where he served as superintendent of the utilities shop ensuring safe, drinkable water for deployed military forces. He also deployed to Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C, where he spear headed the base's water supply backflow program to ensure a reliable base water supply system and created a 1,000 page continuity book to document the project. He also received
the commander's Volunteer of the Quarter award for his 40 plus hours spent with the area agencies repairing several homes for elderly citizens.
"I enjoy what I do and I enjoy working with the people here in the unit. Every day around the unit is a challenge with each new project," he said.
So which project is he most proud of? "I think I'm proud of all of them. I put a lot of work and effort into each effort. I hope my workmanship will be evident and stay around the unit for a long time," he said.