KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 26, 2011) -- A ceremony on Camp Dwyer in Helmand province marked the completion of a $14.9-million project to provide parking and taxiways for coalition helicopters, Dec. 12.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South contracted for and oversaw construction of the project. It comprises a total of 65,000 square meters of concrete paving, including 45,000 square meters of parking and taxiway and 20,000 square meters of runway, and can accommodate up to 10 aircraft. Work began in March 2010, and the facility became operational at the end of October.

"This project started slowly, like many projects in Afghanistan," said South District Commander Air Force Col. Benjamin Wham in his remarks. "But our great team here at Camp Dwyer worked with the contractor, got the project on track and delivered an outstanding facility that will support coalition air operations in this area as long as they are required."

The new parking and taxiways will improve the capacity of the MEDEVAC "Dustoff" units stationed at Camp Dwyer to execute their critical mission -- evacuating wounded coalition Soldiers, said Capt. Kevin Doo, maintenance officer of C Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, in his remarks. The battalion is one of the aviation units already using the new facility.

"The full range of rotary-wing air operations here on Camp Dwyer uses the parking and taxiways of this facility. It increases our combat capability and supports the vital work of the Dustoff assets," said Marine Lt. Col. Matthew Stover, air boss of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), which oversees air operations at Camp Dwyer. "On behalf of the 2nd MAW, I'd like to thank the Corps of Engineers team for their work here."

"The successful completion of this project is another example of how the South District builds strong and delivers quality construction to support the coalition, the Afghan National Security Forces, and the government and people of Afghanistan," Wham said. "I look forward to being able to participate in many similar ceremonies, marking the completion of district projects, over the next seven months."