News: Serving and surveying
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A critical phase in most engineer construction projects comes before a pile of dirt is moved or a building foundation laid.
Augusta, Maine, native, Pfc. Christopher Knowles has been serving with the 428th Survey and Design Team, based out of Londonderry, N.H., in southern Afghanistan since mid-December. He is a member of a three-man surveying team that arrives at the scene of construction projects to begin the first phase of work.
“My job, in a nutshell, is to get on the ground first, mark out perimeters, figure out the elevations and set up lines for roads and perimeter walls,” Knowles said, serving on his first deployment.
Once the first phase of his work is complete, Knowles said he and his team members continue to stay at a project to monitor the work of the carpenters and equipment operators – making sure they stick to the plans and follow the blueprints.
Of the dozen projects he has worked on in Afghanistan, Knowles said his first one was probably the most important one. His team was tasked to do the survey work for a base expansion at Forward Operating Base Talukan.
For Knowles and his crew it was an opportunity to get to know each other.
“The project went a little slower than our future missions,” he said. “We had to figure out our roles, the [surveying] equipment and how to work together.”
Subsequent projects brought the team closer together, and Knowles said the pride they take in their worked emerged to be their biggest strength.
“Why do a mission if you can’t do it successfully?” Knowles said. “I want people to look at our work and say we did a great job.”
Knowles said he also proud of his military service. He is the first in his family to serve in a combat zone and he strongly believes “everybody should do his or her part” for the country. “I couldn’t go to college knowing people were out there making sacrifices.”
When Knowles gets back home later this summer from the nearly year-long deployment, he said he looks forward to his civilian job and civilian routine.
“I’ll take some time off and do some things on my bucket list [before starting college] next spring.” Knowles said. “I want to go to the University of Fort Kent in northern Maine. I’d love to get my bachelors of science in nursing.”
Knowles said the hardest part of the deployment has been missing his family, and he looks forward to finishing his tour overseas. But he said the key to getting through everything is making people laugh and keeping a light-hearted attitude.
“There’s a time and a place to get serious, but a good sense of humor gets me through the deployment. It brings up the morale of everybody.”
Date Posted:07.01.2012 07:01
Location:KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AF
Hometown:AUGUSTA, ME, US
Hometown:LONDONDERRY, NH, US
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