386 HVAC technicians beat the heat, keep cool under pressure

SOUTHWEST ASIA – When dealing with temperatures over 120 degrees, heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians play a pivotal role in the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing’s everyday operations. These unsung heroes can be seen outside each and every day braving the heat, working on refrigeration and air conditioning units that maintain temperatures for everything from the dining facility freezers to computer server rooms.

It’s because of HVAC technicians that aircrew members can sleep in peace the hours before they engage in airlift missions around the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility.

“Not only do we work to sustain the daily mission, we support the entire base to include all of our joint Coalition partners,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Martinez, an HVAC craftsman with the 386th Civil Engineer Squadron. “We keep a steady work environment by making sure not only the members are taken care of but the equipment as well.”

Providing more than just comfort cooling, the HVAC team’s efforts ensure the wing’s command and control communications systems are functioning properly and not overheating, as well as maintaining food storage units that preserve the sustenance for U.S and Coalition partner forces. 

“If the rations refrigeration and freezer units went down it could be catastrophic,” said Martinez. “We are a big asset here when it comes to troubleshooting. Whether the problem is big or small, our job is to find it, troubleshoot it and fix it in a timely, orderly manner.”

At the peak of the summer heat, the HVAC team responded to almost 770 service calls in one month’s time. Whether conducting preventative maintenance or responding to needed repairs these dedicated technicians beat the heat and keep cool under pressure as they keep up with daily demands. 

“We are all about customer service,” said Martinez. “We want to make sure we give everyone the best job we can.”

The small team of less than 20 HVAC technicians works around the clock to provide continuous maintenance and upkeep of several hundred HVAC units installation-wide.

“I take great pride in continuous improvement and using every diverse scenario to expand my knowledge base,” said Senior Airman Jonathon Dow, an HVAC journeyman with the 386 ECES. “Not all situations are the same, but I have the knowledge to systematically find out what’s wrong with the unit and to do the job.”