We Are CE | Ep. 1: Culture Setter

We Are CE | Ep. 1: Culture Setter


As we went into the first exercise at my
first base, you have no understanding of what it takes to recover a base you’re
trying to understand what combat support is and what’s our role, then you start
seeing how the rapid runway repair works and building up the base, building up the
safe route to come in, and it gets exciting because you realize there’s not
many other people that get to do this, where the combat engineers that are in
place to recover the base so that the mission can happen, and so it was at that
point like hey there’s something to this so my four years and done became hey
what’s the next assignment. My older brothers in the military
they encouraged me to go into military as a way to pay for school and then the
Air Force said hey you can do architectural engineering and we’ll pay
for it. I went to school at Penn State University, an architectural engineering.
My first assignment was fantastic when I arrived at Robins Air Force Base at
the 78th Civil Engineer Group, my first interaction was so okay now you’re here
deliver for us. As we go into the operational readiness inspection, I
didn’t know how to use an M16, I didn’t know how to put on the chem gear, so it
was a challenge. As that inspection came in, we’re ultimately failed that
inspection the first time, and that was a huge learning lesson for all of us
and Colonel John Mogge was our commander, he set a culture and tone for us
learning how to become Civil Engineer Officers then how to be leaders in a
large group. The way he turned that around on us is
okay we didn’t pass that inspection but now we’re gonna become the experts
that’s what each of us did. The interesting part is almost everybody
from that assignment has moved on successfully as the Squadron Commander, Group Commander. Current role as the Group Commander at
the 96th Civil Engineer Group of Eglin Air Force Base is incredible. We cover
all aspects of civil engineering from environmental and real property, all the
way to areas to develop weapons. The weapon systems that are being developed, and that are being tested and then are being put to the field. All come through Eglin
Air Force Base and so it’s important that we have the infrastructure in place
so that can happen and we’re working towards that as fast as we can.
Most challenging part of the job is keeping up with the demand, how do we
meet the warfighters needs, balanced on what we can accomplish. The rewarding
part is watching the mission get done, the wisdom and experience that we have
in our workforce isn’t like none other in civil engineers, and they do make it
all happen. You know it’s made me proud to be a civil engineer in my career is
watching folks that I’ve worked with and that have worked under my leadership
succeed. It’s great to be able to influence and shape and mentor Airmen
further into their career and watch them impact both the Air Force and other
Airmen. That culture just perpetuates really the excellence that we have and I
think a lot of that goes back to what the culture that Colonel Mogge set in
the ’78 of how to operate as a group, even though you’re big, you can have that
family atmosphere. That’s what’s been enjoyable because the civil engineers
help you sustain that. It’s a family when you come into CE. My name is Colonel
John Schuliger and I’m the United States Air Force Civil Engineer.