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FERL promotes 'build first, design later'
U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Drew Miller cuts a two-by-four during a Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory activity June 5. Cadets learned skills such as surveying, concrete placement and a self-help project at billeting that will save $40,000 per year in laundry costs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dave Ahlschwede)
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FERL promotes 'build first, design later'

Posted 6/19/2009   Updated 6/22/2009 Email story   Print story


by Ken Carter
Academy Spirit editor

6/19/2009 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Some 72 future engineers have rolled up their sleeves here and they're not afraid to get dirty all the way to their elbows. 

The annual Academy Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory that ends today had mostly members of the Class of 2011, and some members from the Class of 2010, ROTC students from various universities, and West Point cadets working realistic engineering concepts here since June 1. 

According to FERL Superintendent Master Sgt. Dennis Scott, many tasks have been accomplished at the FERL site throughout Jacks Valley including surveying, concrete placement at the BCT area in support of the cadet wing, supporting civil engineers repaving the road outside the North Gate to the Ardvark in support of UAV project, and a self-help project at billeting saving a future $40k per year in laundry costs. 

"Opening up a wall here allows for commercial washers and dryers to be installed so the laundry will no longer have to be sent out," Sergeant Scott said. "It's a very realistic type of project." 

The senior NCO is quick to point out that without CE's help this project would not have been possible. 

"CE has done a lot for us ... the funding and coordination of projects ... through the self-help program, they helped us with material to be able to complete this job," he said.

The FERL program is mandatory for cadets majoring in civil engineering. 

"It's a build first, design later, hands on environment," Sergeant Scott said. "Later, when they start their engineering classes, this training enlightens them on the basic engineering concepts. It exposes cadets and other students to realistic life experiences of the CE operation and the chance to work equally with active-duty members, Reserve, Guard, DoD civilians and contractors." 

Sergeant Scott suggests this training provides the hands-on connection with the entire military force. 

"The networking FERL students learn now between various units and people better prepares them for their careers as future Air Force officers. It's a total team concept ... that's how we get 'er done."

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