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354th MSG ramps up renovations for exercises

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Mariah Lockwood and Cameron Sunstrum, both contingency dorm prep volunteers, assemble a bedframe for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Mariah Lockwood and Cameron Sunstrum, both contingency dorm prep volunteers, assemble a bedframe for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Willet Smith, a contingency dorm prep volunteer, moves bedframe parts for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Willet Smith, a contingency dorm prep volunteer, moves bedframe parts for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Brendan Tarbett and Kurt Brothers, both contingency dorm prep volunteers, tighten screws on a bedframe for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Brendan Tarbett and Kurt Brothers, both contingency dorm prep volunteers, tighten screws on a bedframe for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Airmen use tools to reassemble bedframes after a recent renovation for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

U.S. Airmen use tools to reassemble bedframes after a recent renovation for future dorm residents Feb. 5, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Fourteen Icemen volunteers helped with assembling and moving furniture after a recent renovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson/Released)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The 354th Mission Support Group started renovations and the furnishing of more than 320 dorm rooms Feb. 5 that will be used during contingency exercises such as RED FLAG-Alaska.

Dorm managers led 14 volunteers who are cleaning dorms, and moving and assembling new furniture after the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron renovated the units.

"We planned for a week's worth of work to get this task done, but with the amount of volunteers who came out and how hard they are working we have cut the task down to a couple of days," said Tech. Sgt. Jayson Singletary, the 354th CES dormitory superintendent.

Singletary said the biggest challenge in managing the dorms is the fluctuation between administrating permanent party Airman dormitories while ramping up for exercise season. Along with multiple RF-A exercises, DISTANT FRONTIER and NORTHERN EDGE will bring thousands of U.S. service members and coalition partners from around the world to occupy the units.

"We run this operation with three NCOs and wouldn't be able to get this done without volunteers," Singletary explained. "There are hundreds of small projects from plugging in refrigerators to assembling new furniture - this would be impossible for just three people."

Completing the project is not only helpful for the dorm managers, but also provides a sense of accomplishment for the Airmen volunteering.

"It's a job that needs to get done and if not us then who's going to do it?" said Airman 1st Class Nathan McGowan, a 354th Contracting Squadron apprentice. "This is a great way to have a hands-on investment in the mission from outside the office. I don't always get to see other parts of the base and witness how many moving parts go into the exercises. Every RF-A a new group of people comes and it's a learning experience - I'm a bigger part of that mission."