News: Engineers from two hemispheres work to build FOB
Story by Cpl. Michael Lockett
VAZIANI AIR BASE, Republic of Georgia – The Marines and sailors of the Black Sea Rotational Force 13 and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are currently living at a forward operating base built and constructed by engineers with the U.S. Marine Corps and the Republic of Georgia Army.
Expanding on a basic berm already in place, engineers visited a variety of improvements on the FOB, including building an entry control point (ECP) and vehicle control point (VCP), fortifying the bunker at the mouth of the FOB, and expanding and improving the hygiene facilities on the premises.
“It was difficult, not having the machinery on hand,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas King, Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26 engineering detachment officer in charge from Buffalo, N.Y. Dealing with restrictions on the type equipment that could be utilized, the engineers had to go through local interpreters and contractors to get the facility built.
“Heightened security helps prevent security breaches and overlooks the ECP,” said Gunnery Sgt. Forrest Elge, CLB-26 engineering detachment chief from Seward, Alaska. “We’re teaching the Georgians how to secure their own FOBs or combat outposts.” The engineers in charge of conducting the improvements arrived at the FOB, located outside Vaziani Air Base, a week ahead of the main body from the MEU and BSRF-13.
The Marines and Georgian engineers worked alongside each other to improve their FOB, learning how the other country did work. “They’re showing us how they do more with less; we’re trading techniques,” said Elge. “Despite the language barrier, we’ve been able to conduct a lot of training. They pick up what we teach them really quickly.”
The Marines and Georgian engineers will continue to train in counter-mobility operations, obstacle planning and counter-IED operations. “The Marines have done a good job. The relationship between our engineers and the Georgian engineers has been excellent. I look forward to working with them in the future,” said King.
“It’s an honor to work with the Georgian engineer,” said Elge. “They’ve got a good basic understanding, and they’re enthusiastic to train and work with us.”