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Sustaining Operations: The Crucial Role of Misawa Air Base's Electrical Systems

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Patrick Boyle
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public affairs

A sudden power outage can be a disruptive experience, plunging communities into darkness and uncertainty. However, the 35th Civil Engineering Squadron’s electrical systems flight stands steadfast, committed to ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of Misawa Air Base. Their swift response to power outages, comprehensive system checks, and proactive preventative measures play a pivotal role in maintaining operational continuity.

Beyond merely addressing power disruptions, the electrical systems flight conducts thorough examinations of the entire electrical distribution system, promptly identifying and rectifying any issues that may arise.

Their responsibilities extend beyond the basic electrical systems powering base structures, encompassing the oversight of high and low voltage systems, fire alarms, security systems and other critical components. The indispensable nature of their work is evident in the seamless operation of Misawa Air Base, a testament to the essential role they play.

While electrical systems specialists cannot predict every power outage, they exemplify resilience in their response to unforeseen disruptions. Technical Sgt. Enrique Flores, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the 35th CES electrical systems flight, acknowledges the inevitability of unplanned outages and emphasizes the significance of their rapid response.

“For almost all unplanned power outages, there's nothing we could have done to foresee it,” said Flores. “It comes down to how fast we respond to it, it’s the only thing we can do. That and taking the lessons we learned from the previous outage and applying it to the next one to get things done faster."

In the face of increased power outages in 2023, the electrical systems flight displayed commendable efficiency, addressing issues promptly and restoring power to affected areas with exceptional speed.

“We responded well. We responded quick, quicker than usual,” Flores explained. “We're able to put our minds together and identify the shortfall and quickly restore power to the affected areas.”

Navigating an additional challenge unique to Japan, the electrical systems flight operates within Japan's distinct electrical distribution system, differing from that of the United States. To bridge this gap in knowledge, the flight comprises both Airmen and Japanese employees, fostering a collaborative environment.

“We have great Japanese counterparts that we work with,” said Flores “They teach us the basics of Japanese electrical systems, and our great relationship with our counterparts helps us keep everything afloat here.”

While power outages remain an unpredictable aspect of their mission, the electrical systems flight remains unwavering in their commitment to Misawa's operational integrity. Through their diligence and expertise, they stand as Misawa's guiding light in times of darkness.