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31st CES Airmen save Hangar

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, poses for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 17, 2021. Vance’s quick response saved building 925’s roof from possibly collapsing after a hail storm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, poses for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 17, 2021. Vance’s quick response saved building 925’s roof from possibly collapsing after a hail storm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, right, train Airman Bryce E. Schneider, 31st CES structural apprentice, about harden aircraft shelter at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 16, 2021. During the training the team replaced a guide roller to an apron door.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, right, train Airman Bryce E. Schneider, 31st CES structural apprentice, about harden aircraft shelter at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 16, 2021. During the training the team replaced a guide roller to an apron door. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, left, and Airman Bryce E. Schneider, 31st CES structural apprentice, conduct preventative maintenance on a roof  
at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 17, 2021. Airmen from the 31st CES complete preventative maintenance on roofs quarterly, semiannually, and annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) structural journeyman, left, and Airman Bryce E. Schneider, 31st CES structural apprentice, conduct preventative maintenance on a roof at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 17, 2021. Airmen from the 31st CES complete preventative maintenance on roofs quarterly, semiannually, and annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

“It was 3 p.m. and I was finishing a job in building 925 when the facility manager came up to me and he seemed flustered,” said Senior Airman Tyler J. Vance, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman. “I could tell something was wrong.”

Vance’s day started like any other ordinary day, but little did he know he would have to make some decisions.

“I woke up to my 6:30 a.m. alarm…then went to work like a normal day,” explained Vance. “Every morning my flight chief does a morning meeting at eight o’clock, going over the priorities of the day, and to see where everyone is going. I had a job at building 925.”

Originally, Vance’s job at building 925 was to fix a lock on one of the doors, but just as he finished, the facility manager of the building urgently rushed over to him.

“He asked me if I had a [mechanical] room key,” said Vance.

Vance did in fact have the key and they walked towards the room.

“Before we walked up, I could see water gushing from under the door,” said Vance. “I opened the door and it was like a waterfall coming through the vent,” said Vance. “Instantly, I thought a piped burst.”

He quickly asked for a ladder, so he could see where the source of the water was.

“I opened the vent and I realized it was a flat roof and instantly I knew I had to go up on the roof,” said Vance.

When he realized where the water was coming from, Vance jumped into action to solve the problem.

“I explained to all the bystanders that we had to pick up everything off the floor, like computers, so the water wouldn’t damage them,” said Vance. “From there I called my flight chief to inform him that we had emergency at 925. I explained to him that water was stagnated on the roof and overflowing into the [mechanical room]. Afterward, I called Marco, who is our roof specialist.”

While Vance was waiting for Marco and his crew, he went on top of the roof and discovered a foot of water sitting on the roof.

“I knew the roof could possibly collapse, injure personnel, and destroy the hangar,” said Vance. “So I began unclogging all the drains by using a bucket to scope out the water and toss it down the building.”

Vance made many decisions that day, from getting a ladder and investigating, to calling his flight chief. Nevertheless, the easiest decision he made that day was going on the roof and unclogging the gutters, he said.

“I just knew that’s what had to happen, otherwise further damaged would have happened,” said Vance.

Vance couldn’t have done it alone; he had a whole team ready to support him.

“I just want to thank Marco, Staff Sgt. Cooley, Senior Airman Benthem, and Airman 1st Class Poulin, for responding as best as they did,” said Vance.

Vance and his team came together and illustrated their adaptability and deterred through the challenges.