Norwich – Before its gates could be opened to the public this August, reservists from the 512th Civil Engineer Squadron, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, had a mission to fulfill: complete a handful of construction and infrastructure projects that would greatly improve an aging fairgrounds in Norwich for years to come.
The Airmen joined reserve units from Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as part of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program. The IRT program provides opportunities for Active, Guard, and Reserve service members across all military branches to take on community service projects while preparing them for real-world contingencies.
“The focus of the IRT program is to make the training as realistic as possible in a contingency environment with the safety of being stateside,” said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Jones, Air Force Reserve Command IRT civil engineer planner. “It’s one of the best avenues for Airmen.”
Since the late 1800s, the Chenango County fairgrounds has entertained families with harness races, local farmers showing off prize livestock and traveling vendors operating rides and games.