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HVAC 'air men' keep it cool

Senior Airman Damien Singleton, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technician, checks an AC unit for discrepancies at a base facility, Feb. 10, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To ensure maximum productivity at VAFB, routine maintenance is performed regularly by HVAC personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

Senior Airman Damien Singleton, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technician, checks an AC unit for discrepancies at a base facility, Feb. 10, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. To ensure maximum productivity at VAFB, routine maintenance is performed regularly by HVAC personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Encompassing nearly 100,000 acres, Vandenberg executes a variety of operations on a daily basis.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning personnel play a pivotal role in the everyday upkeep of Vandenberg, and to ensure maximum productivity, routine maintenance is performed regularly.

"We handle a lot of small maintenance every day," said Senior Airman Damien Singleton, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron HVAC technician. "There are filters and belts that need to be replaced, water levels that need to be checked, and air conditioning units that have to be changed out."

Along with the routine tasks are additional jobs with implications just as vital to the base populous.

"On top of our normal repairs, there are many other jobs we're tasked with," said Senior Airman Erik Sundstrom, 30th CES HVAC technician. "We provide steam for the dining facilities so their food can be properly cooked."

In addition to providing numerous support services, HVAC Airmen maintain a direct role in Vandenberg's primary mission of completing successful polar-orbital launches.

"We supply a certain amount of cooling for the server rooms during the launches," said Singleton. "Without us, one of the systems in those rooms could overheat and potentially jeopardize a launch."

During times of sweltering heat in California, climate-controlled cooling serves as a breath of fresh air and enables successful production by base personnel.

"We provide comfort cooling for everyone on base," said Sundstrom. "I don't know about you, but if I'm placed in a room that's really hot or really cold, I don't work very well. It gets pretty warm here, so cooling is essential."

With a variety of tasks and nearly 100,000 acres of ground to cover on Vandenberg, HVAC technicians are fully aware of their responsibilities and embrace the challenge, as well as the reward.

"Our job presents a great challenge," said Singleton. "Our hands are on just about everything on this base, which is pretty cool. When Airmen are able to relax comfortably and we watch those missiles successfully launch, we know we've done our part."