• Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin (left) and David Mishimura, 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A) overlook the vehicle column during a route reconnaissance mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on July 26.  (USACE photo, Mark Ray)

    Overlooking the route recon column

    Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin (left) and David Mishimura, 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A) overlook the vehicle column during a route reconnaissance mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on July 26. (USACE photo, Mark Ray)

  • David Nishimura (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin, from the 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A) check their equipment in a tent on Combat Outpost Little Blue before conducting a route reconnaissance mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan on July 26.

    Checking equipment before the recon

    David Nishimura (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin, from the 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A) check their equipment in a tent on Combat Outpost Little Blue before conducting a route reconnaissance mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar...

  • A view of the way ahead, taken from the gunner's turret on an M-ATV, shows the difficult terrain that the column had to move through.  David Nishimura and Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin, of the 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A), conducted a route reconnaissance mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on July 26.  (USACE photo, Sgt 1st Class Gary Malkin)

    The route recon column moves through difficult terrain

    A view of the way ahead, taken from the gunner's turret on an M-ATV, shows the difficult terrain that the column had to move through. David Nishimura and Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin, of the 565th Engineer Detachment (FEST-A), conducted a route...

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Two members of the 565th Engineer Detachment (Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance) conducted a route recon mission in Shah Wali Kot district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan on July 26. This story tells of their mission.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has two districts in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Engineer District-North, headquartered in Kabul, and the Afghanistan Engineer District-South, headquartered in Kandahar. But USACE also has other units, the Forward Engineer Support Teams, which provide direct, hands-on engineering support to Regional Commands and Provincial Reconstruction Teams. One of those teams, the 565th Engineer Detachment (Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance), deployed from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, works out of Kandahar Airfield.

The 565th is one of eight active-duty FEST-A teams in the Corps of Engineers inventory. There are also 20 reserve FEST-A teams, and four larger FEST-M (or Main) teams (two active-duty and two reserve). The FEST-A teams provide technical engineer support and limited design capability for overseas contingencies, natural disasters and other crises. The larger FEST-M teams can be described as a "mini-USACE district" with electrical, mechanical, civil, and environmental engineers as well as logistics, contracting and resource management personnel. Both types of team have military and civilian personnel assigned. Eight personnel make up FEST-A teams; a FEST-M team has 36 personnel assigned.

Projects the 565th has completed in Afghanistan include:
o Multiple route recons and designs for road improvement
o Bridge assessments
o Culvert assessment and design
o Support to base camp expansions, including fire station and motorpool designs
o Support to Afghan district government centers, including assessments and designs of electrical systems, wells and district center rebuilds

Day One

0745-Sgt. 1st Class Gary Malkin and David Nishimura from the 565th travel to Stallion Ramp on Kandahar Airfield to wait for a helicopter that will take them to Combat Outpost Little Blue in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province. There, they will link up with a platoon from Cobra Battery, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash., which will provide movement support as the team reconnoiters a possible road project.

1030-The FEST team members climb aboard a helicopter for the trip to "Little Blue." Once at the outpost, they meet with the members of Cobra Battery and determine the day

Page last updated Sat August 11th, 2012 at 00:00