AMARAH, Iraq - Building an Army base from scratch is a difficult task. Just ask the Airmen who completed major construction at Forward Operating Base Garry Owen, the closest American base to the Iraq-Iran border.

Lt. Col. Edward Bohnemann and Command Sgt. Maj. George Zamudio, the commander and senior enlisted noncommissioned officer of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, presented golden combat spurs to the U.S. Air Force personnel who worked for a month and a half on construction of the FOB.

"The scope of work was challenging, but our outstanding craftsmen made quick progress on all tasks," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brian S. Loisel, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the construction team. "This is a true testament of today's Airmen, because they came from 16 different bases throughout the United States and quickly became one outstanding unit, accomplishing something that for most will be a once in a career opportunity."

The 25 Airmen worked with Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 535th Equipment Support Company, along with troops from the 2nd Bn., 7th Cav. Regt., to build the base from nothing.

The team built the base's perimeter, a dining facility, mobile showers, a laundry facility and air-conditioned sleeping tents for approximately 1,000 troops.

Bohnemann's troops started their deployment working on an Iraqi Army compound called Sparrow Hawk, but the American forces quickly developed their own base next door to the compound.

The Airmen are already working on their next project: construction of FOB Hunter for the Long Knife Brigade's 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16