News: Building a strong foundation for the Kabul Base Cluster
Story by Staff Sgt. James Lally
KABUL, Afghanistan — Massachusetts Army National Guard engineers supervised a building construction project on Camp Phoenix Sept. 27, 2011.
Task Force Yankee’s General Engineering Department was on-site to ensure that the 335th Signal Company’s new building was being built on time and to standard.
As the command and control element for the 11 bases that make up the Kabul Base Cluster, Task Force Yankee provides security, service, support and policy guidance for more than 9,000 U.S. service members. More specifically, Task Force Yankee provides contract management and construction oversight.
The 26th’s G-Eng. provides facility engineering services, master planning, construction expertise and billeting management throughout the KBC in order to improve the quality of life for coalition forces.
“Here in General Engineering we design and oversee the construction of projects throughout the Kabul Base Cluster. Currently, there are 531 projects totaling $106 million that we oversee,” said 1st Lt. Vikram Mittal, design engineer and construction officer in charge of the G-Eng., Section, Task Force Yankee, 26th “Yankee” Brigade.
Mittal was on the scene to oversee the foundation being poured for a two-story relocatable building made from shipping containers to improve the 335th Signal Company’s office and housing space. The 335th has lacked the office space necessary for their mission.
Mittal is more than qualified to inspect cement footings. He earned an undergraduate degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, a master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Back home in Massachusetts, Mittal is a senior mechanical engineer at Draper Laboratories in the vehicles and robotics group.
At the site, Mittal discussed the status of the rest of the RLBs, such as the actual containers and doors with the Afghan contractor. “The RLB concept allows a building to be constructed faster because while the foundation is being poured and dried, most of the rest of the work can be done simultaneously off-site,” Mittal said.
RLBs are a series of prefabricated metal containers that are placed on a concrete foundation and connected together. Doors and air conditioning units can be installed on-site to prevent damage during shipping.
Describing the overall progress of the project, Mittal said, “It’s going pretty well. The contractor seems eager to get the job done and do a good job. It should be a nice building when it’s done.”