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103rd Civil Engineer Squadron: Update from the Front...

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen position a beam while erecting a Large Aircraft Maintenance Shelter (LAMS) at forward operating base Meymaneh, Afghanistan, last month. Members of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Connecticut Air National Guard, have  been deployed since July 2011 to the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. James Works)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen position a beam while erecting a Large Aircraft Maintenance Shelter (LAMS) at forward operating base Meymaneh, Afghanistan, last month. Members of the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Connecticut Air National Guard, have been deployed since July 2011 to the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. James Works)

Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Margelony, 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, relays the day’s training events at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, Aug. 8, 2011, to  Col. Frank Detorie, commander, 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard. The Guardsmen were there for Combat Skills Training prior to deploying overseas to work with the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron (Photo by Lt. Col. Roy V. Walton)

Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Margelony, 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, relays the day’s training events at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, Aug. 8, 2011, to Col. Frank Detorie, commander, 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard. The Guardsmen were there for Combat Skills Training prior to deploying overseas to work with the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron (Photo by Lt. Col. Roy V. Walton)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen with the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron train as a quick reaction force (QRF) fortifying a strategic position at a training range on Camp McGregor in New Mexico, Aug. 9, 2011. The Guardsmen were there for Combat Skills Training prior to deploying overseas.  (Photo by Lt. Col. Roy V. Walton)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen with the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron train as a quick reaction force (QRF) fortifying a strategic position at a training range on Camp McGregor in New Mexico, Aug. 9, 2011. The Guardsmen were there for Combat Skills Training prior to deploying overseas. (Photo by Lt. Col. Roy V. Walton)

Mazar-e-Sharif (MeS), Afghanistan -- Hello to all back home from the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron (EPBS) in Mazar-e-Sharif (MeS), Afghanistan. It is hard to believe we have already knocked off one of our six months over here. We have been working hard on all sorts of different projects making the mission in Regional Commands North (RC-N) and West (RC-W) happen. Since the last update, we have sent most everyone in the squadron at least to one other (Forward Operating Base) location to get work done and in most places, they are very glad to see us and sing the praises of our work. The typical video teleconference planning or status update briefing has the Army majors and colonels we support stating, "We have Prime BEEF working to fix that issue or as soon as Prime BEEF gets to our FOB that will be worked."

What is causing all of this good press you may ask? Well, we finished a Life Support Area (LSA) for the only counter explosives device team in RC-N. The structures guys poured concrete pads and put up four small shelter tents, the utilities guys put in a septic tank and hooked up the latrine shower systems (LSS), the electrical and power production guys set a generator and hooked up the circuits. Of course, the equipment operators were busy grading the site and filling the Hesco barriers. We have sent about a dozen folks to FOB Meymaneh for a few weeks to erect a Large Aircraft Maintenance Shelter (LAMS) - A VERY BIG tent with lights and power. We picked up a project that the Army started many months ago, but near and dear to everyone's stomach at FOB Kunduz - their new Dining Facility (DFAC). The structures team erected four small shelters and one medium shelter and then had to build a plywood hallway to connect them all to make it work. Our electricians are trying to find all the parts to make the system work, and everyone on the FOB will do anything to help if someone says they are Prime BEEF. We sent six guys to FOB Kelegay for a week to install a couple of LSS. A few days later, two utilities guys hopped on a helicopter with a few minutes' notice to make a same-day emergency repair line break in the new LSS.

Not everything is hopping on a helicopter and building things for the 877th EPBS, a lot of it is trips by helicopter and Armored Vehicle (MRAP) convoy to outlying FOB to assess Life, Health, Safety issues of the facilities or figuring out what the customer really wanted so it could be built. Our engineer assistants have been busy surveying projects for the designs, tracking down the materials needed to construct the project, or managing specific projects for the appropriate project manager. Each of these great team players are helping leave a great name for the 877th EPBS.

As the forces in Afghanistan restructure, we have changed from the preferred Troop Labor source for work in RC-North to the ONLY troop labor. We have picked up projects where Army units left off and are starting a new mission for Air Force engineers, technical advisors to the Afghan Army Engineers. We are getting ready to help teach the Afghan Engineers how to make Hesco Barrier wall as projects on part of our base. This mission has typically been done solely by other services before. I'm sure our 877th EPBS engineers will excel at this also.

On September 11, at 1716 hours Afghan Standard Time (0846 hours EDT), we held a memorial service on the exact Tenth Anniversary of the first impact of the Twin Towers. It was a vivid reminder of why we are all serving over here in Afghanistan right now. I want to thank each of you back in the States for the love and support you show your Airmen so they may help us fight this war.