Team McChord’s 627th CES receives Major General Clifton D. Wright Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylee Tyus
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 627th Civil Engineer Squadron mission is to enable joint warfighters through building combat ready engineers and strengthening the joint base. Their continued dedication to the mission, along with the 627th vision to train ready, reliable, and integrated Airmen has led them to receive the 2022 Maj. Gen. Clifton D. Wright award at the Air Mobility Major Command level.

The award recognizes the performance of the most outstanding CE operations flight in the performance of quality maintenance, repair, and improvement of installations facilities and infrastructure.

“We were elated, it was huge for us,” said Maj. Catherine Robertson, operations flight commander with the 627th CES. “To be nominated is awesome, but then to also have an Airman win at AMC is unbelievable.”

The 627th CES handles a variety of infrastructure projects on Joint Base Lewis-McChord; from laying the concrete that allows for a safe drive from one side of the installation to the other, to spraying our planes with insecticides to repel insects that may interfere with the mission when traveling from one country to another. The 627th CES does it all.

In 2022 the Airmen with the 627th CES did a renovation on McChord’s $18 million dining facility. Their renovations restored the dining facilities ability to serve more than 5,000 meals a year to the hardworking Airmen and family members on McChord.

In 2022, with JBLM experiencing a 52-year record snow fall, the 627th CES conducted what they call ‘Snow Operations’. This involved approximately 50 heavy equipment operators and augmentees performing 24-hour operations to clear the installation for mission generation. The squadron cleared approximately 300 miles of road and two runaways across the whole base.

“We help the whole base population to get in and do their mission,” said Master Sgt. Brendan Wendt, operations flight superintendent with the 627th CES. “That encompasses both Lewis and McChord. We have teams set up on both sides of the base.”

It took the Airmen 168 hours to complete this operation.

Although the 627th CES is equipped to work in less-than-ideal conditions, being at a joint base does come with its own unique challenges. Here on JBLM, the 627th CES is integrated with U.S. Army personnel, meaning in addition to their CE qualifications they must also stay up to date with Army requirements.

Working alongside 260 Army personnel, the over 100 Airmen within the 627 CES, work on over 600 square miles of land to provide installation support for over 100,000 service members and their families. The 627th CES remains mission ready, while also making sure that JBLM is running smoothly as a whole.

“This unit is unique because it sets people up for a joint environment and a lot of Airmen at Air Force bases don’t get that opportunity,” said Wendt. “It’s a big deal for us as a flight to put pen on paper of what the Airmen are doing day in and day out, that are killing it across the installation.”

The Airmen within the 627th CES are essential to the overall Team McChord mission. Last year, one stood out above the rest. U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Yam, structural journeyman with the 627th CES, was awarded the Maj. Gen. Eugene A. Lupia award. This award is given for superior technical competence and job performance.

“I didn’t even know I was being put up for the award,” said Yam. “It’s exciting because I’m just doing my job.”

Before the Air Force, Yam, a Republic of Korea native, attended Washington State University as a contractor cadet in the JROTC program. Just three weeks before graduation, Yam decided to go a different route and enlist in the Air Force with hopes of commissioning.

Yam is a hard worker who doesn’t like leaving his work to the next person. He doesn’t go home until he feels like he has accomplished his tasks for the day.

Along with carrying out his daily duties, Yam has always had an interest in wood working so he has volunteered to create all the award plaques for the Air Base Group.

“Yam is one of those Airman who just knocks it out of the park,” said Wendt. “He has a great attitude, he’s willing to work, willing to learn and takes constructive feedback. He is the type of Airman that will go far in the Air Force, one who earns the respect of his peers.”

The Maj. Gen. Clifton D. Wright award is only the beginning for this hard-working squadron.

“Our team has done a great job of facilitating the work they need to accomplish with the Directorate of Public Works, while also making sure they understand that they’re still a part of the CE family,” said Robertson. “We’re going to prepare them no matter what, even though this is an atypical squadron.”