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    902nd Eng. Co. soldiers rapidly construct customs facility at MK

    902nd Eng. Co. soldiers rapidly construct customs facility at MK

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Warren Wright | Spc. Francisco Ochoa, a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 902nd Engineer...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Warren Wright 

    21st Theater Sustainment Command

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania – Engineers with the 902nd Engineer Company (Vertical), 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command are working long hours and beating tough deadlines to ensure facilities are ready to assist service members returning from Afghanistan through the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base Passenger Transit Center.

    The engineers are currently working on constructing new customs facilities, a process that will take less than 30 days from start to finish.

    “I expected a tight timeline and I have been completely satisfied and just overwhelmed with how well the soldiers are doing,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Kletzien, the main customs building project officer in charge and a native of Plymouth, Wisc. “They work hard every day and they put in their long hours without complaining.”

    The project comes as the primary responsible location for the transition of Soldiers into and out of Afghanistan moves from the Transit Center at Manas in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to the M.K. Air Base Passenger Transit Center.

    “I feel the contributions we are making here will help make sure the transition of soldiers from Afghanistan goes as smoothly as it did in Manas,” said Pfc. Aliah Murray, a carpentry and masonry specialist and a native of Clinton, N.C.

    “Hopefully it makes things a lot easier,” said Sgt. Jason Whitaker, a heavy construction equipment operator and a native of Indianapolis. “It’s a bigger facility, it’s nicer and it’s newer, so it should make things a lot easier for the soldiers.”

    Engineers involved in the project expressed their feelings on how the new facilities are being constructed with the Soldier in mind, in order to help ensure a smooth transition from an operational area.

    “The facility is big enough so that they can process up to 300 people and the flow should be extremely simple for them,” said Kletzien. “It should help them with an easier transition from the deployment stage.”

    “I think this area is going to speed the whole process up a lot quicker and get the soldiers home faster,” said Sgt. John Emerson, an interior electrician and a native of Greenwood, Ark.

    Part of the ongoing success of the engineers’ mission is the steadfast dedication and willingness to learn from all of the junior engineers involved in the project.

    “A lot of the soldiers out here are younger and were more than willing to come out here and learn,” said Whitaker. “There are three different (military occupational specialties) out here right now, and eve if it wasn’t necessarily their MOS, they were more than willing to come out here to learn by picking up a hammer, start swinging and start banging in nails.”

    “All of the credit goes to the soldiers,” said Kletzien. “It’s completely overwhelming at how much they can accomplish and how quick they can sync together and accomplish a task like this.”

    Once the engineers complete construction on the customs facilities, they’ll move on to build more support facilities designed to provide support to the service members leaving Afghanistan and heading home.



    Date Taken: 01.15.2014
    Date Posted: 01.17.2014 02:13
    Story ID: 119297
    Hometown: CLINTON, NC, US
    Hometown: GREENWOOD, AR, US
    Hometown: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
    Hometown: PLYMOUTH, WI, US

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