Monument movement provides quality training for National Guard Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A monument dedicated to the farm youth of Wisconsin who have served their country in the defense of freedom, found a new resting place with help from the Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Squadron and Urban Search and Rescue team based out of Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin. The 18 Airmen invested approximately 60-75 hours into the movement Oct. 14, with many more hours invested behind the scenes with planning and coordination between the 115th FW’s CES, Fire and Emergency Services Flight, and USAR team along with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and Wisconsin Department of Administration, Bureau of Real Estate Management. The planning included a site visit Sept. 4, 2017 to determine the plan for movement, which flexed and changed even as they completed the movement.  

“As we demolished the wall behind it, we had to change plans as we couldn't get a good grip to use slings,” said Lt. Col. Michael J. Dunlap, 115th FW CE commander. “We spent some time that day discussing options as to which way things would move and/or slide as we took it down.”

"The training was beneficial to our members as many times our 115th FW USAR team or our firefighters may have people trapped in spaces with heavy loads suspended above them, in less than ideal conditions such as a building collapse," said Senior Master Sgt. Chad Workman, Deputy Fire Chief for the 115th FW Fire and Emergency Services Flight. "Finding ways to move these large stones without disrupting the adjacent pieces of the monument and scratching them forced the Airmen to devise ways to move extremely heavy items in very small increments."

"In the end our goal was to get them from point A to B without scratching them or breaking them into many smaller pieces," added Workman. "The 115th Airmen used the 115th FW USAR tools, a 10K all-terrain forklift and a tractor trailer to move the monument. Overall it was positive training for all involved." 

The monument was moved from 801 W. Badger Road, Madison to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Prairie Oak State Office Building, 2811 Agriculture Drive, Madison. The Wis. Department of Administration requested assistance with movement of the monument to its new location and the movement planning process was several years in the making, said Michael Linsley, Agency Emergency Services Coordinator - Division of Management Services for Wis. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Linsley served with the 115th Fighter Wing from 1988 to 2004 when he retired from the Emergency Services Flight as a Senior Master Sgt.

“The actual movement of the monument in my opinion went very smoothly. The members of the 115th CES and 115th FW USAR Team were, consummate professionals, they arrived on time, performed the training mission using their specialized equipment according to plan, and delivered the monument sections safely and intact for final placement,” said Linsley.

“August and September were part of the planning phase for the 115th CES CE as they determined the details,” said Dunlap. “The USAR equipment was used to crib and brace the three separate pieces of attached stone as we disconnected it from the wall,” said Dunlap. “It was loaded from there onto a tractor trailer using the 10K AT forklift and driven down the road to its final resting place. It was then fork lifted from the trailer at the new location and left for installation by a civilian contractor.”

“The monument installation was successfully completed by civilian contractors, in the afternoon on Oct. 14, in the rain, with lots of adjustments to get it square and level. The brick mason finished up the work the following day,” said Linsley.

“I felt that the monument move went very well. The team that showed up to move the monument was very professional and efficient in dismantling the wall, loading the monument and then moving the monument to the new location,” said Heather Gionta, Interior Construction Project Manager, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Bureau of Real Estate Management. “It actually took several years to plan the movement as it was originally requested in 2013, pending the sale of the land. The project resurfaced in June 2017 and then we were finally able to go ahead with the planning,” said Gionta.  

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau officially dedicated its headquarters at 801 W. Badger Road on June 9, 1957. In a newspaper clipping from June 2, 1957, it is reported that the monument was “supplied" by Stefan Mittler Monuments, according to Lee Grady, the reference archivist with the Wisconsin Historical Society. It appears that it was originally created by the Wis. Farm Bureau and dedicated when they opened their new office in 1957 at the Badger Road location. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is planning to rededicate the monument at the new location in November.