CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Transportation Soldiers here have learned to take frequent moves in stride by using the opportunity to improve their wood-working, construction and painting skills.

The Mannheim, Germany-based Soldiers of the 70th Transportation Co., 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, were recently moved to a new area for the fourth time in their deployment, but they enjoy the challenge.

"Soldiers love the results it gives them. It's the sense of accomplishment they really take away from it," said 1st Sgt. Andrew Crockwell, first sergeant, 70th Trans. Co. "When Soldiers are able to look at a project they helped finish, they are able to see the totality of their efforts."
Sometimes the Soldiers have to get creative. Materials are limited when making improvements, and finding workable wood and paint has been the hardest part for the company.

Sgt. John Deeds, armorer, 70th Trans.Co., uses his civilian experience in construction to build sturdy walls and make other improvements for the company.

"It's good to use the construction background I have," said Deeds, who is a Cedaredge, Colo., native. "We have limited materials, but it's a good experiment in ingenuity."

Deeds said he has enjoyed the change of pace from his regular Army responsibilities.

Spc. James Blanton, heavy wheeled vehicle operator, 70th Trans. Co., of Cordoua, Ala., said while his regular duties are rewarding, seeing tangible results from his work is more meaningful.

"I like to look at a job and see something I did," Blanton said. "I look at these buildings and think that I helped do this. The progress we have made is definitely the best thing to see."

Rebuilding and beautifying their areas isn't unnecessary work, Blanton said.

"We've moved around quite a bit," Blanton said. "It's been a lot of work and some people feel like we are just wasting time and effort, but I just like staying busy and doing what I can."

Company leadership said they also have a responsibility to the next group of Soldiers that will fall in on the building.

"While we are here we should be leaning forward in the foxhole and doing what we can. If not for us, then for our replacements," Crockwell said. "What kind of leaders would we be if we left something the same as we found it'"

Photos and story by 1st Lt. Paul Schmidt, UPAR.
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