By 3rd Sustainment Command Public AffairsApril 1, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - In March 2009, the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) G7 Engineers, working with base contractors, completed the rewiring of their headquarters for the electrical safety of Sustainers here.
In an effort to ensure the safety of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen currently working here, the 3d ESC conducted an electrical assessment of their headquarters compound and determined the need for an electrical overhaul.
According to the National Electrical Code, a vast majority of the buildings and facilities here were not up to standard, said Col. Jarrold M. Reeves, 3d ESC deputy commander.
The 3d ESC Headquarters was identified as one of those buildings.
The NEC is a United States standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment.
"The U.S. Army has used this building since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. We basically used the available electrical panels that were in place which resulted in some things on one side of the building getting power from panels on the other side of the building," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Turner, a resident of Sedro Woolley, Wash., and the assistant chief of staff, engineer for the 3d ESC.
Once the need for rewiring was determined, a qualified team of electricians was established and the rewiring project was underway.
Turner, along with Maj. Wayne E. McCormick, 3d ESC deputy G7; Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Larson, technical engineer specialist; Sgt. 1st Class Terry G. Dammann, non commissioned officer in charge of the G7 Engineers and base contractors were assembled for the job.
According to Turner, one main problem was that no unit had ever reduced their electrical load during their deployment. As new units rotated through the headquarters building, they added to the electrical load by installing additional refrigerators, air conditioners and coffee pots. Adding these types of items gradually increased the load over time, Turner said.
"One of the things we did to reduce the electrical safety risk," Turner said, "was follow the guidance of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Lally, (commander of the 3d ESC), who mandated reducing the electrical footprint by limiting the number of appliances in each office. Then we sat down and came up with a plan to keep the building operational during the rewiring process."
A new electrical system was installed in the building before the old system was disabled, Turner said. Once that was complete, the electrical team went through the building a second time to convert the building's power over to the new power system.
"The critical point was when the power was switched over," Turner said. "One generator was left powering the old circuit for the building while the other generator powered the new circuit. This allowed minimum impact on the headquarters operations personnel as they worked," he added.
As a result this process took about a week to fully switch over to the new system.
The rewiring effort allowed the headquarters staff the ability to sustain continuous operations. This increases the capability to command and control its subordinate logistical units, while assisting in the 3d ESC's mission to help secure Iraq.
STORY BY 1st SGT REGINALD SMITH, 123rd MPAD PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
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