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Steam plant operations bring the heat

A building releases steam at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. In order to provide heat to several buildings, water is sent to boilers which vaporize and go through several pipes throughout the base. Once the steam reaches a building, it goes through a compactor, separating the heat from the water and blowing it into the rooms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A building releases steam at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. In order to provide heat to buildings, water is sent to boilers which vaporize and go through several pipes throughout the base. Once the steam reaches a building, it goes through a compactor, separating the heat from the water and blowing it into the rooms. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, left, and Yuichi Tsukuda, right, both 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operators, check a steam production plant at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The technicians perform maintenance checks ensuring all the boilers in Misawa’s 11 plants are not at dangerous pressure levels. Each check is performed every eight hours when personnel shift changes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, left, and Yuichi Tsukuda, right, both 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operators, check a steam production plant at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The technicians perform maintenance checks ensuring all the boilers in Misawa’s 11 plants are not at dangerous pressure levels. Each check is performed every eight hours when personnel shifts change. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, releases steam from a boiler at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. As steam comes through a pressure gauge it allows technicians to check the pressure of the instrument, ensuring the conditions are not hazardous. The operators use the inspection for analyzing the cleanliness of the boilers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, releases steam from a boiler at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. As steam comes through the gauge it allows technicians to check the pressure of the instrument, ensuring the conditions are not hazardous. The operators use the inspection to analyze the cleanliness of the boilers as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matusmura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, checks the back of a boiler at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The steam operations shop, comprised of contractors who perform maintenance checks throughout the day, is over seen by the 35th CES. Every shift, five personnel must be present to ensure continuity and safety of the larger heating systems during an inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matusmura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, checks the back of a boiler at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The steam operations shop, comprised of contractors who perform maintenance checks throughout the day, is overseen by the 35th CES. Every shift, five personnel must be present to ensure continuity and safety of the larger heating systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A drop of Black-T chemical drips into a glass measuring cup filled with water at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. Black-T is a multi-step process which employs a series of chemically bonding products through the pipes, providing protection against rust, corrosion and external damage. During a maintenance check, boiler technicians mix in one drop of the chemical mixture to the water circulating through the boilers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

A drop of Black-T chemical drips into a glass measuring cup filled with water at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. Black-T is a multi-step process which employs a series of chemically bonded products through the pipes, providing protection against rust, corrosion and external damage. During a maintenance check, boiler technicians mix in one drop of the chemical mixture to the water circulating through the boilers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, looks through a steam plant maintenance book at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The maintenance book includes blueprints for the boiler rooms and instructions for performing all maintenance checks. Misawa contains 11 different steam plant locations across the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Shingo Matsumura, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron boiler operator, looks through a steam plant maintenance book at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 30, 2017. The maintenance book includes blueprints for the boiler rooms and instructions for performing all maintenance checks. Misawa holds 11 different steam plants across the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

The roar of an F-16 Fighting Falcon rips overhead through the snowy sky as Airmen with the 35th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group prepare the next aircraft for launch.  Despite the weather, their hands stay warm enough to tighten the next bolt thanks to the constant hiss of Misawa's steam plants.

Exploiting the power of steam, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron works alongside Japanese partners to equip and maintain the base's heating system, securing a comfortable environment so base personnel can carry on their missions.

All of Misawa’s 11 steam plants are overseen by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Rada, the 35th CES steam plant operations and heating, ventilation and air conditioning NCO in charge, who ensures the complexes are secured and at safe levels.

“Having heated areas plays a crucial role in the Air Force mission,” Rada said. “Without the steam plants, Misawa personnel wouldn’t be able to execute the F-16 Fighting Falcon mission. The colder it is, the lower someone’s immune system is. Airmen would get sick often, and the job would not get done as quickly as it could.”