BAGHDAD - Builders by trade, Army specialists from the 46th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, were recently given the chance to build their leadership skills by managing the construction of 30 'B-Huts' in Iraq, May 4. B-huts are wooden structures that house 10 Soldiers per structure.

The 46th Engineers work from sun up to sun down expanding and improving Combat Outpost Carver, located in the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, in preparation for troop movement from the cities by their June 30 deadline.

"[Soldiers] are moving out of the cities and turning over the inner establishments that we have over to the Iraqis because we are at that point here in this war," said Calvin, La. native, Sgt. 1st Class Haden Hobbs, 225th Eng. Brigade liaison at COP Carver.

During this time of transition, engineers must lead the fight to ensure that the outskirt bases have the facilities to house and feed the newly arrived Soldiers at places such as COP Carver. The building of the B-huts is the first step in this process.

"We are building better lives for the troops. The Soldiers out here on this COP are living in tents and we are building a hard structure for them to live in with [air conditioning] and plenty of outlets to plug their computers into," said Spc. Chance Bailey, a carpenter with the 46th Eng. Bn. from Kilgore, Texas.

And the leadership of the 46th feels no one is more capable of making sure this mission is accomplished than the Army's future noncommissioned officers like Spc. Bailey.

"Our Soldiers have consistently excelled and worked above their pay grade throughout this deployment. The senior specialists have been asking for the opportunity to take responsibility for a building," said platoon leader 1st Lt. Virginia Brickner from Van Wert, Ohio.

"This project provided the perfect opportunity. The specialists are each in charge of their own work crews and pace of construction. If an issue or obstacle arises they have to work through it on their own," she continued.

Given a crew of their fellow Soldiers, and Soldiers from the 1st of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, who hold ranks below and above their own, does cause some adjustments to be made as seen by some of the senior non-commissioned officers.

"The first few days were a little interesting because he wanted to stand at parade rest and give me direction, but now I am nothing more than a worker bee to him," Hobbs said with a smile about working for Bailey. "I am learning a lot from him and the Soldiers out here."

The 'specialist in the lead' project will continue for the next two months. It is enough time to meet the deadline for constructing a dining facility extension, food prep area and more living quarters.

"Our hope is that this experience helps them to continue to develop both their leadership and construction skills, making them stronger future noncommissioned officers," said Brickner.

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