Seabees today

Seabees, Soldiers Create Security Points for Iraqi Forces

Story Number: NNS060518-01

Release Date: 5/18/2006 7:32:00 AM




By Journalist 1st Class Benjamin Franklin, Multinational Force - West Public Affairs


AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq (NNS) -- Seabees and Soldiers of the 9th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) completed major projects in May that will directly aid Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to reinforce security and maintain stability in Al Anbar Province.


The goal was to create several security posts that would be manned entirely by the Iraqi army and would help them to maintain law and order.


The overall operation was a cooperative effort between the Seabees and the U.S. Army.


“We are building all the steel and wooden structures for their fighting positions, and are preparing the berthing spaces with electrical and air conditioning,†said Builder 1st Class Andrew Bugs, special projects supervisor. “The U.S. Army will drop it off, and then we’ll build the sites. Once finished, the Iraqi army will take them over.â€


NMCB 40 Seabees are constructing these projects at a detachment site. Steel Worker 3rd Class Pablo Sanchez helped reinforce steel conex boxes so that they would support the weight of a heavy steel fighting position and layers of sandbags. This unit will house a defensive machine gun nest for the Iraqi forces.


“Collectively, our crew burned about 500 welding rods on this project,†Sanchez said. “We build a lot of things for people, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to set a camp up for the Iraqi forces. I hope this helps to protect the Iraqi troops so they can accomplish their work.â€


A challenge to completing the projects was a swamp located at the end of a waterway that separated the Seabees from the project sites. Movement around the far end of the waterway was even less desirable because it meant placing the convoy at greater risk from other hazards.


To solve the dilemma, the Army’s 46th Engineer Construction Battalion (ECB) was called in to create a road along the waterway and directly across the edge of the swamp. The 46th ECB is a subordinate unit to the 9th NCR and is a valuable pool of highly skilled engineers that the Seabees can rely upon to handle difficult projects.


Soldiers operating bulldozers, bucket loaders, dump trucks and road graders spent days moving large volumes of earth to create a new convoy route. The crew used more than 2,000 cubic yards of rubble to fill in the edge of the canal from its six-foot depth.


“We’ve been working long hours trying to get this done,†said Army Staff Sgt. Ronnie Kilgore of the 3rd Earth Movers Platoon, 46th ECB. “Even though it’s hot, we still work hard. We know it’s important that we get this road complete.


The importance of this road goes well beyond any single military project. It provides military teams with the ability to operate more effectively. “It makes the insurgents have to watch more areas now,†said Kilner.


While the 46th ECB strengthened the road for convoy trucks, NMCB 40 completed its prefabrication projects. The U.S Army was invaluable in supplying materials and handling the logistics.


“The Army is loading the trucks and moving them out for us. They are providing us with security,†said Chief Utilitiesman Ismael Macario, assistant officer-in-charge of NMCB 40.


Soon afterward, the Army’s 506th Infantry (1st Battalion), a supported unit of the 9th NCR, and the Seabees successfully completed the security projects. Iraqi Security Forces are now in place and are increasing their efforts to provide security.


“The force protection measures we are taking will be saving their lives. It is a show of force,†said Macario. “This is a center point for turning one area over to the Iraqis. We have troops training the Iraqis how to maneuver, and the Army is taking them out on patrols. We have Seabees out here building positions and assisting them in force protection – helping them take back their country.â€


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Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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