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RHEIN-MAIN AIR BASE, Germany — A group of reservists from Ohio are the driving force behind a series of community improvements being made at this base near Frankfurt.

The civil engineers from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are spending their two-week active-duty stint improving street lighting, rehabilitating old buildings and making permanent walkways. It’s the second of two Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force teams to deploy to Germany to conduct day-to-day air base facility operations and maintenance.

“This type of hands-on training is realistic and has all the same safety hazards we would have anywhere else, which makes this type of training invaluable,” said Maj. Chris Cunningham, operations officer for the 445th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Lighting along Ellis Road, the main drag to and from base, is minimal because of circuit lighting problems, Cunningham said. The Prime BEEF team is installing 1,000 feet of electrical cable to help remedy the problem.

Also, the firefighter shower and locker facility on Rhein-Main had a “vintage ’70s look,” said Staff Sgt. Alan Baker. The walls, floors and ceilings are being retiled and new fixtures are being installed.

The reservists are due back in Ohio on Sunday.

In addition to all the hard work, the team has gotten the chance to see a few sights. So far, the engineers have visited Cologne, Munich and the Dachau concentration camp.

“I’ve noticed that Germans are a lot more active than Americans,” said Senior Airman Kelli Filson, who said the language was the most interesting part of visiting Germany. “I think it’s really neat. I like driving past all the scenery of farmland and castles. It’s really beautiful.”

Soon, with their Reserve duties complete and a trip to Germany behind them, the civil engineer squadron members will return to their civilian jobs, but not without a lesson.

“This is an important mission even though the base is closing because there still are active-duty military and families here,” Cunningham said.

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