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75th CES handles first big winter storm

Personnel and equipment assigned to the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron remove heavy, wet snow from the Hill Air Force Base flightline and industrial-area roadways Nov. 28. According to the 75th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight, the storm bought 7 inches of snow to Hill, the first significant snow event of the winter season. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Personnel and equipment assigned to the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron remove heavy, wet snow from the Hill Air Force Base flightline and industrial-area roadways Nov. 28. According to the 75th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight, the storm bought 7 inches of snow to Hill, the first significant snow event of the winter season. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

High-capacity sweeper vehicles clear the Hill Air Force Base taxiway of snow, Dec. 1, 2016. During the winter season from Nov. 1 through April 1, the snow removal team has 70 employees who work 24/7, operating 65 pieces of snow-removal equipment to remove 65-70 inches of snow each year. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

High-capacity sweeper vehicles clear the Hill Air Force Base taxiway of snow, Dec. 1, 2016. During the winter season from Nov. 1 through April 1, the snow removal team has 70 employees who work 24/7, operating 65 pieces of snow-removal equipment to remove 65-70 inches of snow each year. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Tom Giles, 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, performs maintenance on a blower truck in the snow barn at Hill Air Force Base, Dec. 1. These trucks and other snow removal vehicles are kept in top shape to fulfill their mission of keeping the airfield here operational during any weather conditions. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Tom Giles, 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, performs maintenance on a blower truck in the snow barn at Hill Air Force Base, Dec. 1. These trucks and other snow removal vehicles are kept in top shape to fulfill their mission of keeping the airfield here operational during any weather conditions. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

High-capacity sweeper vehicles clear the Hill Air Force Base taxiway of snow, Dec. 1, 2016. These trucks and other snow removal vehicles are kept in top shape to ensure the airfield is operational all winter long, during any weather conditions. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

High-capacity sweeper vehicles clear the Hill Air Force Base taxiway of snow, Dec. 1, 2016. These trucks and other snow removal vehicles are kept in top shape to ensure the airfield is operational all winter long, during any weather conditions. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Personnel and equipment assigned to the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron remove snow from a Hill Air Force Base parking lot, Dec. 1. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Personnel and equipment assigned to the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron remove snow from a Hill Air Force Base parking lot, Dec. 1. (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Delane Vaughn, 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, performs maintenance on a blower truck in the snow barn at Hill Air Force Base, Dec. 1. The 75th LRS snow removal team prides itself on being the best in the Air Force (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

Delane Vaughn, 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, performs maintenance on a blower truck in the snow barn at Hill Air Force Base, Dec. 1. The 75th LRS snow removal team prides itself on being the best in the Air Force (U.S. Air Force photos by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The first big snowstorm of the season rolled through Northern Utah Nov. 27-28 bringing 7 inches of heavy, wet snow and the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron snow removal teams here were ready for it.

During the winter season from Nov. 1 through April 1, the snow removal team has 70 employees who work 24/7, operating 65 pieces of snow-removal equipment to remove 65-70 inches of snow each year.

“Our main focus here is to keep the base open and getting people to and from work safely,” said Steve Hunt, 75th CES operations and maintenance supervisor. “Those are our highest priorities.”

Snow removal operations here are broken down into airfield and street sections, with each section having priorities. For the airfield, the runway is the top priority. Base gates, main thoroughfares and emergency access routes get the highest priority for the street section.

“For the airfield, we normally work several different priorities at once but if it’s snowing hard and the mission dictates, we’ll have every piece of equipment dedicated specifically right on the runway,” said Hunt. “Street-side priorities are worked right alongside airfield priorities. We’ve got enough men and equipment to work the both, simultaneously. ”

Following the recent snowfall, ice became the priority.

“Ice is actually a bigger issue for us,” said Hunt. “It’s time consuming because the chemicals we use take time to react and it’s costly.”

The snow removal team has excelled at keeping the mission going here and they have the awards to prove it, having won the Air Force Materiel Command Balchen/Post award for excellence in snow and ice control 12 years running.

“We pride ourselves on being the best snow-removal team in the Air Force,” Hunt said.