News: ANA engineers partner with 857th Construction Co. for tent pad build
Story by 1st Lt. Tyler Dovel
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The air was chilly as engineers from the 857th Construction Company drove up to the old motor pool at Camp Maiwand, right next to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank in eastern Afghanistan. As they parked their trucks and began setting up the job site for the day, they were joined by a squad of Afghan National Army engineers from the 4th Kandak, who eagerly helped them unload the trucks.
The 4th Kandak, located at FOB Sanchez, has had their engineers working with the 857th since September. The Kandak was preparing to relocate to Maiwand, but in their planning, they identified there was still the issue of adequate housing, something they called upon their American partners in the 857th to help remedy.
Work started around 9:30 am, with both 857th soldiers and their Afghan counterparts setting up saws and marking the layout for the new tent pads. Two linguists stood by to bridge the inevitable language gap, but most of the communication throughout the day was nonverbal. Both teams of engineers knew construction, and the work flowed seamlessly as lumber and tools passed between American and Afghan hands.
These tent pads were important to the Afghan soldiers, as they would be living there in the coming months, but this project held a special importance to the 857th Soldiers as well. The distance between the two units had been an obstacle in the past, but now they are eager with the prospect of their Afghan partners moving closer.
“They’re hard workers,” said the Staff Sgt. Bounds, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge at the job site. “They like getting out here and using tools, no one has to tell them to get to work.”
The soldiers worked in groups, each one assigned to a different task, and by the end of the day, they had jointly constructed two tent pads, with five more partially complete. The Afghan platoon sergeant was on site, supervising his soldiers. He spoke well of the partnered effort, stating “We’re happy to work with you guys…the experience is good for us and we can use it in the future.”