SHIR GHAZAY, Afghanistan - Two Marines carefully stepped out of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and extended their metal detectors to full length during a route reconnaissance mission on Route Red, Jan. 1-3. The quick checks were conducted to calibrate the detectors and the Marines began the meticulous sweeping process, ensuring that the area was clear of improvised explosive devices.
After the initial sweeps were made, the vehicle commander, Sgt. Mark Prado, stepped out of the MRAP and began his duties of taking photos and measurements of the area.
The sweepers finished clearing the area and headed back to the armored vehicle and Prado marked down the grid coordinates in order to catalog another section of Route Red.
Combat engineers by trade, the Marines of 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), are responsible for a host of duties to include providing security for other platoons in the battalion and conducting route reconnaissance missions like this recent task.
Route Red is a main means of travel for local residents and military personnel traveling from Highway 1 (the main highway in Afghanistan) north to Shir Ghazay.
The purpose of the mission was to document inclines and declines in the route, sharpness of curves, the shortest width during the route, and where culverts were located or needed to be placed on the route to prevent wash out.
“The route has been an ongoing improvement since we took over from 7th ESB,” explained Sgt. Elliot Stamschror, the security element leader on the convoy. “We wanted to show progress on the route and note any things that need to be fixed or changed.”
During the mission, each time the convoy approached a curve, culvert, incline or decline, in addition to other facets, the Marines would post security for the recon vehicle and the sweeping and documentation process was repeated.
In addition to the hands-on techniques used to annotate the route, the intelligence operations shop took a technological approach by mounting cameras on the MRAPs and other armored vehicles in the convoy.
“We gathered a bunch of pictures and tied them to grid coordinates, so as you are driving down the route you’ll be able to view the pictures at the exact grid coordinates where they are located,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Ripley, an intelligence operations administration clerk and native of Argenta, Ill.
Overall, the mission was a success, said Stamschror, a native of Milwaukee. All aspects of the route were well documented and now the reports will go to higher officials and decisions about improving the route can be made with a full understanding of its current condition.
|Date Posted:||01.06.2012 01:54|
|Location:||SHIR GHAZAY, AF|
This work, Combat engineers perform route recon mission, paving the way for road improvements in Afghanistan, by Sgt Meredith Brown, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.