446th engineer speaks softly, carries big influence

By Staff Sgt. Grant Saylor/446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs on June 1, 2011

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Tech Sgt. Jennifer Greer is quiet and unassuming. Her colleagues tease her about her small stature. She looks young enough to be mistaken for a recent graduate of basic training. But nine years on Air Force active duty, two years in the Reserve, and two deployments to Iraq tell another story. When it comes to the importance of her job and what she brings to the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's engineering assistance shop, her presence looms very large indeed.

As an engineering craftsman, Sergeant Greer is trained to survey a bare base, testing things like topography and soil density to determine how best to lay out base resources and structures.

"My career field is very rewarding and challenging because there's such a broad spectrum of things we do," said Sergeant Greer. In fact, her work delves into contracts, mapping programs like AutoCAD and GIS, construction management, and surveying.

"And everything we survey, we download to a program because we map the end product."

When damaged runways are repaired by heavy equipment operators, Sergeant Greer and her team essentially becomes quality control specialists, ensuring the soil supporting the concrete is tested to meet certain criteria for strength and composition. And of course, said Sergeant Greer, there are different criteria for different-sized aircraft.

Sergeant Greer and her team may appear to fly under the radar at times, but their work certainly does not go unnoticed.

"They pretty much do it all," said Maj. Andy LaFrazia, 446th CES assistant commander. "When I was in Iraq, EA (engineering assistance) was responsible for construction surveillance, materials inspection, concrete slump tests and soil testing, just to name a few."

Major LaFrazia said EAs like Sergeant Greer "show everyone else in civil engineering where things go."

For example, they show electrical specialists where the precision approach positioning indicator equipment should be stationed to assist pilots on landing. They also tell power production specialists where to position the mobile aircraft arresting system to help stop aircraft landing on short runways.

Sergeant Greer's colleagues are quick to recognize the leadership qualities she brings to her team of Reservists.

"She's great," said Staff Sgt. James Stuart, an engineering craftsman with the 446th CES. "She's working above her pay grade as a team leader and she inspires us."

Sergeant Stuart was stationed in Korea for a year with Sergeant Greer. He said she's sharp when it comes to delegating tasks among the team. He also joked that she makes great coffee.

Sergeant Greer said she's thankful for the growth she's experienced as a result of training opportunities provided by the 446th Airlift Wing. The Puyallup, Wash. resident and San Diego native is temporarily deployed for a week-long training exercise at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.  Known as Silver Flag, the exercise provides field training and classroom instruction to improve deployment readiness for civil engineers.

"Everything we're doing here, the surveying and setting up, we did in Iraq," said Sergeant Greer. "So this is all very real, and great refresher training."

Sergeant Greer is married with a young son and works in the engineering division of the public works department at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Lewis Main, Wash. in her civilian life. When she's not attending her son's numerous sporting events, she enjoys working out and shopping.