"There is a scorpion in the desert with a stinger [as big as] a sword," said Lt. Col. Mark N. Gaworski, chief of Army Reserve Affairs for the 3rd Corps Support Command.
"I encountered the creature on a patrol reconnaissance mission but before it could strike, I pulled out my 9 mm pistol and â?¦" Gaworski laughed as he continued to tell the tale of how his skill, persistence and athletic ability enabled him to defeat the scorpion.
Actually, the creature was neither fought nor defeated " it was created.
Servicemembers like Gaworski have taken pictures and enjoyed the realistic 6-foot long replica of a scorpion created by third country national Josefino Leyran last May. Leyran is a pump operator at the Logistical Support Area Anaconda fuel point.
"This work is amazing," said Andrew Walkington, manager of LSA Anaconda fuel point operations. "I would say that this scorpion is probably one of the most photographed artistic items here."
"It was fashioned after a black scorpion that Leyran caught and put in a jar," said Walkington. "If you study it, the model is done very well. It is almost identical to the real thing."
"He used empty boxes, soda cans and scrap plywood to make the model," said Walkington.
"He used trash," said Floyd J. Johnson, a government-contracted pump mechanic who worked with Leyran during the project. "He collected black paint from several practically empty containers to use on the model."
"Leyran worked on the project in his free time," Walkington said. "Working during breaks and after his 12-hour shifts, it seemed like he completed the project overnight."
"I complet[ed] the project in four days using [a] hammer and a saw," Leyran said.
Leyran has also created several small scorpions from scrap copper wiring for his co-workers and employers, said Walkington.
Some of these intricately-woven scorpion models are displayed in Walkington's office.
"He works really hard," said Walkington. "We have been here for two years and I have seen nothing but dedication from this man."
Leyran's creativity and dedication to work continue to lift the morale of troops and add local color to the terrain at LSA Anaconda today, said Walkington.
The replica remains crouched on the side of a dirt mound as though it were guarding the nearby fuel. Those passing through can see the creature from the road and with permission from Leyran, one can take pictures and see the scorpion for themselves.