BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sleeping under the stars, eating outside and having no plumbing or electrical conveniences available are activities that most people associate with camping, but for the Soldiers of Troop A, 1st Squadron, 50th Cavalry Regiment at Patrol Base Yusifiyah, it was everyday life in Baghdad.

Engineers from 1st Platoon, Company A, 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) have been diligently working to build and repair facilities and provide electrical power to make sustained missions on Patrol Base Yusifiyah possible. These facilities will meet both the practical and logistical requirements of Troop A and include basic housing, medical operations, hygiene, command and dining needs.

In accordance with the Security Agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi Governments which limits U.S. bases within Baghdad city limits, the base, southwest of the city, will be expanded to support Soldiers moving there.

"I can see that this mission is really important to the Soldiers that are staying here," said Cpl. Scott Carter, of Rochester, N.Y., a vertical construction team leader with Company A, 46th ECB (H). "I know in the summertime having an air conditioned space where you can take a break makes a big difference."

The project is estimated to take six weeks to complete, but within days of arriving on Patrol Base Yusifiyah, the U.S. engineers had already made drastic improvements. The tactical operations center (TOC) was completely repaired and some living quarters were set up for Soldiers.

"We had to use the skills of all the Soldiers to get the work done," explained Staff Sgt. Joshua Smith of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 46th ECB (H), vertical construction squad leader. "Everything from carpentry, to electrical, to air conditioning and plumbing went into getting things up and running."

In addition to the improvements to the TOC and housing units, engineers are constructing a troop medical center, a dining facility, and showers. The scope of work also includes improving force protection measures on the patrol base; including adding a metal security gate, a guard shack, and more safety platforms for the existing guard towers.

"If we can get this place to where the Soldiers can have all their basic needs met between their missions, then our mission has been a success," remarked Cpl. Carter.

"Once this patrol base is fully operational, it will be a great place to stay. It will have everything the Soldiers need to take care of themselves," said Smith.

And, improving the quality of life for forward-deployed maneuver units is exactly what these engineers are committed to doing.

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