News: Engineers rebuild ABP checkpoint, quarters
Story by Staff Sgt. Brandon Aird
By Staff Sgt. Brandon Aird
173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Engineer and cavalry Soldiers worked together April and May to build living quarters and a security check point for Afghan border police at the Gowardesh bridge during Operation Mountain Highway II in eastern Nuristan province, Afghanistan.
Spc. Jason Marlowe, a Wisconsin native, and Spc. Ben Kavanagh, from Iowa, built the ABP checkpoint living quarters, bunkers and fighting positions next to the Gowardesh bridge and Landay River.
"We're building bunkers and their home so they can stay here to protect the bridge and the immediate area," explained Kavanagh, who said their previous living quarters were destroyed by insurgents late last summer.
Afghan national army soldiers provided over-watch security for two weeks while the engineers worked around the clock to complete the ABP checkpoint and living quarters.
"Were trying to get this built as soon as possible so the ABP can move in here," explained Marlowe. "Right now everyone is sleeping outside on the ground."
The ABP checkpoint and living quarters were the main efforts of Operation Mountain Highway II. While Marlowe and Kavanagh constructed the ABP station, hundreds of Soldiers provided over-watch security in seven observation posts around the valley.
"It takes an enormous amount of over-watch to safely come up here due to the terrain," explained Capt. John Williams, Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment commander.
Construction on the ABP checkpoint and living quarters was completed in mid-May. The new check point will improve security and open up the way for government- and development-related projects in the region.
The opportunity was prime for other construction in the area, also.
"Now that we have security in this area we can restart construction on the road," explained Williams.
A 40-million-dollar road project was halted last fall when four road-construction workers were killed by insurgents in the area.
"Two of the observation posts can see miles down the road," explained Williams. "Once the road is built, it will open up the area to new projects, which weren't feasible before."