Bases, Roads Contribute to Security in Afghanistan
By Capt. Ashley Dellavalle, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2007 U.S. Army engineers are building forward operating bases and roads in support of forces providing security to the people of Afghanistan.
A soldier from Alpha Company, 864th Engineer Battalion, puts finishing touches on a B-Hut that will house Polish soldiers in the village of Kushamond in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. Photo by Capt. Ashley Dellavalle, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Despite harsh conditions due to “moon-dust” -- very fine silt that permeates every crevice at Forward Operating Base Kushamond -- the soldiers of Company A, 864th Engineer Battalion, from Fort Lewis, Wash., are building 24 B-Huts and a C-Hut to allow units from the Polish Battle Group, a battalion-size infantry element, to move into a comfortable “winterized” base before the cold season.
B-huts are semi-permanent wooden structures designed to last three to four years; each houses eight to 10 soldiers. C-Huts are similar, but larger.
These engineer soldiers are used to living and working in tents, temporary facilities and the worst of conditions to provide support to other coalition forces protecting the Afghan people. The engineers stay at one base only long enough to construct adequate facilities and quality roads for incoming forces.
After completing a road that connected hundreds of Afghans in the villages of Mest and Kher Khot Castle, the A Company soldiers relocated from Kher Khot Castle to continue work on a base at Kushamond, as well as the road they are constructing from the village of Jhani Khel to Kushamond. Roads are a significant part of reconstructing Afghanistan. They link key district centers and the Afghan people, allowing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to expand its influence, secure its people and promote economic development, U.S. officials said.
Since March, the 864th Engineer Battalion has completed nearly 160 miles of road, connecting hundreds of Afghans to district centers, Army Maj. James DeLapp, the unit’s executive officer, said.
“With a combination of security provided by the Polish Battle Group soldiers and a quality road network provided by these engineer soldiers, the Afghan people will be able to safely travel to many district centers,” Army Capt. Jorge Mendozacasillas, Company A commander, said.
(Army Capt. Ashley Dellavalle is assigned to Task Force Rugged Public Affairs.)