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Air Force captain from Morris instrumental in saving $3M

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:23 p.m. CDT
(Staff Sgt. Michael Means for Shaw Media)
Air Force Capt. Charles Comfort (center), 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, provides a construction update to Gen. Gilmary Michael Hostage III, commander Air Combat Command, during a visit to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Nov. 12. Comfort, who is a native of Morris provided a tour of the relocatable buildings, which upon completion, will house members of the 380th AEW.

Air Force Capt. Charles Comfort was credited with saving the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing $3 million annually.

Comfort, who is a native of Morris and 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron programs flight commander, and his flight identified the cost savings by reducing the base’s reliance on electrical generators. 

By removing 25 generators from around the base and relying more on commercial power, the wing will save nearly $250,000 each month on generator fuel costs.

The military would not release the location of this base.

Comfort noted that the consistently outstanding effort displayed by his 29 airmen began when he first deployed to the 380 AEW and he relied on that effort heavily throughout his deployment. 

“I am blessed to have such a great crew of enlisted airmen and officers who handle a complex program. The whole crew wanted to make broad changes, and our focus was on prioritizing the most important projects, funding and then executing them,” he said.  

Comfort also said that Master Sgt. Paul Magin, programs flight superintendent, was critical as his right-hand man throughout the deployment. 

The execution of his flight’s programs, according to Comfort, was distributed between contracts to civilian companies by the 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron, or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The other means of project execution was through in-house construction within 380 ECES, or by the 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron and the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron.

Comfort said no project would be possible without assistance from the comptroller or contracting squadron. 

Lt Col. Madison Morris, 380 ECES commander, talked about Comfort’s ability to work across various functions throughout the wing.

“While he’s very talented, he also knows how to tap into the talents of his folks and work well with other organizations,” Morris said. “We wouldn’t get far without contracting or finance, and his excellent working relationship with them resulted in a relatively small number of people accomplishing a disproportionately large amount of work.” 

“He energized his staff to develop 45 projects in just three and a half months,” he said.

Comfort also was instrumental in obtaining 56 percent of all AFCENT’s end-of-year funding for 11 projects totaling almost $6 million. The funds were used for water, power, sewer, electrical and infrastructure projects throughout the base. 

Comfort also cited the support of his squadron and group leadership, which enabled his flight to creatively take on multiple projects in spite of budgetary challenges.

“Our leadership trusted us,” Comfort said. “It took time and work to develop that credibility, and our communication upward contributed to that. We kept everyone informed.” 

Morris further described Comfort’s intangible qualities. 

“I hit the jackpot when Capt. Comfort was assigned to this unit,” Morris said. “He’s got the brains, energy, creativity and team building skills to sort out this complex operating environment.”

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