By 2nd Lt. Michael CirilloSeptember 6, 2008
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Once these engineer Soldiers arrived at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Soldiers of 1st platoon had mere days before they were sent out to begin the relief in place with 851st Vertical Engineer Company. The engineers belonged to Company A 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 926th Engineer Brigade attached to Multi-National Division - Baghdad,
Projects at two different sites in the MND-B area are giving the Soldiers a chance to see what construction is like in the theater of operation. Twelve Soldiers of the "Strike First" Platoon were sent to Al Muthana Airfield to help upgrade an existing building for a Military Transition Team. The project includes all aspects of vertical construction including plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work. The Soldiers are getting a chance to try their hands at everything including building beds, wiring, heating, ventilation and air condition systems and replacing eastern style commodes with western style toilets.
The work is hard but rewarding and in just a few days the platoon made significant progress. Staff Sgt. Juan Zavala from Las Crusez, New Mexico, 1st Platoon Squad Leader, is in charge of the project, and understands the mission at hand very well.
"We have a lot to do here; the building needs a lot of work," says Zavala, "but it will be nice when it is finished."
Soldiers at the Al Muthana Airfield Project are also getting trained on convoy operations on a daily basis. The Soldiers live on Forward Operating Base Prosperity. Sgt. 1st Class Dunte Bennett a Baton Rouge, La. native and the Platoon Sergeant for 1st Platoon stated, "Soldiers can't stay at the airfield right now, the facility isn't ready to house troops yet." Once plumbing and electrical work is completed the Soldiers will be able to move to the project site. Plans call for the project to be finished before the end of July 2008.
On June 25, 1st Platoon also sent Soldiers to the Joint Security Site Adl in central Baghdad to provide quality assurance and quality control for local contractors tasked with remodeling and upgrading a three story shopping mall into a living and working place for 4th Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment, attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Sgt. Richard Dusenberry of Orion, Ill., is a squad leader in 1st platoon and is the project Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.
"The contractors started out pretty slow and seemed lost, but with a little guidance they are on track and making great progress," said Dusenberry.