Steam plant operations bring the heat

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert
  • 35th Fighting Wing Public Affairs

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.”