Soldiers Improve Remote Station in Iraq
By Army 1st Lt. Nathan M. McEwen
Special to American Forces Press Service
JOINT SECURITY STATION CHILAT, Iraq, Nov. 18, 2009 Soldiers here have taken the adage “Improve your foxhole” to heart as they strive to improve this small security station in southern Iraq.
Army Spc. Damon Krach builds a set of shelves for a tent at Joint Security Station Chilat, Iraq, Oct. 5, 2009. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Nathan McEwen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The station’s remote location means soldiers of C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, often have to rely on themselves to do the improvements. This involves many different types of manual labor, such as plumbing, electricity, carpentry and civil engineering.
“It’s a lot of fun being one of the carpentry guys,” said Army Spc. Damon Krach, a medic from Salem, N.Y. “I have worked on different types of projects ranging from tables and desks to shelves and hallways. I even had the opportunity to work on a washroom.”
Working on improving the security station can be relaxing and helps to pass the time during the deployment, the soldiers said.
“Instead of sitting around after my shift, I will go and work on wiring or building something like new flooring for the tents, and it helps pass the time,” said Army Staff Sgt. Chris W. Hale, an operations noncommissioned officer from Vinita, Okla. “It seems to make the deployment go by quicker, which is always a plus.”
Since June 15, when C Troop moved into the area, the station has expanded steadily. Border transition teams Phoenix and Scimitar established the joint security station, and now with everyone working together and combining ideas and skills, the quality of life has improved project by project.
“The [station] has come a long way since our arrival,” said Army Cpl. Timothy W. McBride a C Troop armorer and Apache Junction, Ariz., native. Every month or so, he said, at least one large project improves the quality of life, and the pace seems to be speeding up with more and more large projects.
Through the soldiers’ teamwork, the station now has amenities such as heated running water, a fully functional dining facility, a gym and copious amounts of air conditioning.
(Army 1st Lt. Nathan M. McEwen serves with the 1st Armored Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.)