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Combat Engineers Mentor, Help Afghans With Construction Projects

By Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC
Special to American Forces Press Service

GARDEZ, Afghanistan, Oct. 29, 2007 – Four combat engineers recently traveled from Kabul to Gardez to share their construction experience with Afghans hired to build housing units for military personnel assigned to Forward Operating Base Lightning.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Staff Sgt. Dwayne B. Jones assists in laying concrete blocks for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning, Afghanistan. Jones, from Langley Air Force Base, Va., is one of four combat engineers who were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons. The combat engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company. Their job included teaching methods that will help the Afghans become more efficient in the construction process. The combat engineers said they have traveled to several forward operating bases in Afghanistan over the last few months mentoring and assisting Afghans with construction projects.

“We’re just helping,” said Army Staff Sgt. Lonnie L. Russell, from Beaufort, S.C., “trying to get the (concrete) blocks up so they can move everyone in before the snow.”

Russell said he and the other combat engineers have had an interesting experience with the Afghans. He has found that the Afghans’ methods for constructing “isn’t pretty” at times, but the end product is very similar to their own.

“We’re trying to teach them how to do four layers (of concrete blocks) at a time instead of one,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Michael R. Jenks, who is assigned to Camp Phoenix and deployed from the 1st Civil Engineer Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

This system would make the block-laying process faster than their current method, he said.

(Marine Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr. is assigned to Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan Public Affairs.)

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 82
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Staff Sgt. Lonnie L. Russell assists in laying concrete blocks for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning. Russell, from Beaufort, S.C., is one of four combat engineers who were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons. The combat engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Staff Sgt. Lonnie L. Russell assists in laying concrete blocks for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning. Russell, from Beaufort, S.C., is one of four combat engineers who were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons. The combat engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC  
Download screen-resolution   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Afghan construction worker mixes mortar for laying concrete blocks for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning. Four combat engineers were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons in September. The combat engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC  
Download screen-resolution   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Afghan construction worker mixes mortar for laying concrete blocks for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning. Four combat engineers were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons in September. The combat engineers are assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC  
Download screen-resolution   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Afghan construction worker works on the walls for a housing unit at Forward Operating Base Lightning. Four combat engineers assigned to Task Force Phoenix Engineering Company in Kabul were in Gardez mentoring and assisting Afghan masons in September. Photo by Staff Sgt. Luis P. Valdespino Jr., USMC  
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