Soldiers with 877th Engineer Battalion, Georgia National Guard, operate bulldozers to flatten land here Sept. 24, 2011. (Photo by Spc. Jazz Burney, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)
FARYAB PROVINCE, Afghanistan (October 5, 2011) — Motorcyclists, compact cars full of passengers, and trucks loaded with produce detoured around U.S. Army construction vehicles, which proved to be only a temporary delay for a faster commute in the future.
Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, provided security as U.S. Army engineers began constructing a bridge near the village of Ghormach in September.
Leaders with “Thunder” Battalion planned a bridge construction project to span a dry river bed, known as a wadi. In the spring and winter, the wadi floods making the route nearly impassable to security forces and civilians alike.
“The bridge and improved road needs to happen because it will allow citizens to go east and west freely and help promote better commerce in this area,” said Georgia National Guard Staff Sgt. Kenneth Jones, now a heavy vehicle operator with 877th Engineer Company.
Engineers operated dozers graders, other heavy machinery and explosives to level ground during the project.
“This is very similar to what I do at home so it seems really routine except for the combat zone aspect of it,” said Sgt. John Eck, an engineer assigned to 111th Engineer Battalion.
Directly atop the wadi runs a section of Highway 1 built by Chinese engineers. Travelers in the Ghormach area use this road nearly every day. The highway spans through rural Ghormach and connects citizens to many parts of the country.
Because the construction site was once a Taliban stronghold, Soldiers with Headquarters Battery and C Battery, 1-84 Field Artillery provided security.
Inside armored vehicles and on-foot, Soldiers manned traffic control points along a detour created for citizens traveling to and fro during construction. U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters continually circled the site. Afghan National Army soldiers with 3rd Kandak, 209th Shaheen Corps provided extra man power to secure the site.
“The Taliban had a lot of forces in this area. They were disrupting the road by stealing money from those traveling here. I am very happy that you guys are here to provide security in this area and are bringing peace in our country,” said an officer with 3rd Kandak, 209th Shaheen Corps.