News: Improving Combat Outposts
Story by Spc. Cynthia Teears Van Cleve
By Spc. Cynthia S. Teears
11th Public Affairs Detachment
MOSUL, Iraq - 3rd Platoon, 77th Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade went to Combat Outpost Rabiy to improve the security and the quality of life that was started in January.
Killer Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 2nd Company, 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi army division resides at COP Rabiy.
The Killer Troop and the 2/6/2 IA Division patrols the Westside of Mosul. The two units also react to various forms of possible improvised explosive devices and act on intelligence gathered on insurgents' activities.
"We've been pulling security while the engineers build up the COP," said Spc. Brandon Burkhart, a cavalry scout assigned to Killer Troop, 3/3 ACR. "We have two-hour shifts of guard duty each, it's not bad."
The condition of the combat outpost has improved a great deal since Killer Troop first moved out here last November.
"When we first came here, it was almost like a junkyard with all the vehicles ... and there used to be a bunch of bombed out buildings," Burkhart said. "The engineers busted them out and moved all the rubble out."
There were various types of equipment left on the site of the COP Rabiy due to the site formerly being an Iraqi department of transportation site.
Killer Troop slept in their vehicles and eventually moved into tents inside of T-walls after enough space was cleared out. By the middle of January, the unit was able to move into the building the engineers built.
The engineers are now in the process of erecting two new buildings; a half dining facility and a half tactical operations center and one for living quarters. The buildings designed in a style to keep them off of the ground to prevent water damage during the rainy season, said Spc. Glenn Roach, a Chicago native who is a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 3rd Platoon, 77th Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade.
"We have 14 days to build both buildings and I think we can do it in less," said 2nd Lt. Abigail Ford, the platoon leader of 3rd Platoon, 77th Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade.
"I am betting nine days and the platoon sergeant says eight. We work from sundown to sunup and sleep during the day. It's a bit cooler that way," she concluded.
Overall, improvements on the security in Mosul have allowed the Army engineers to be actively engaged in construction projects with fewer worries about enemy activity.
"There was a lot more action in terms of explosions and gunfire," said Staff Sgt. Eddie Dirck, a construction supervisor of 3rd Platoon, 77th Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade.
With high risk to its members, the 77th Eng. Company completed the first series of construction projects back in January, said Dirck. This time they felt much more secure and could take time off to sleep during the day and concentrate solely on the mission during the night.
COP Rabiy has come a long way since the 77th Eng. Company first broke ground.
"Well as an engineer, it's always awesome to actually put something up that's going to stay there. You're always going to know that you helped build that COP. That's what being an engineer is all about."