News: Task Force Anchor revives commerce with bridge repair
By Builder 3rd Class Sarah Sharples
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133
CAMP KRUTKE, Afghanistan - Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, Task Force Anchor, completed repair of a heavy timber bridge across the Helmand River in Afghanistan’s Helmand province during October.
The 27 Seabees detailed to the project, working in three teams 24 hours a day, repaired the 370-foot long bridge which was originally constructed in 1957. In four days, the TF Anchor personnel replaced the uneven and treacherous decking with fresh wood that prepared it for increased traffic from a nearby village and local bazaar.
“The main purpose of the repairs was to open up freedom of movement for the Afghan National Army and local commerce freight,” said Chief Utilitiesman Joseph Mathers, the detail’s senior enlisted leader. “Eventually the hope is to revive the once bustling bazaar and help the town economically.”
With the arrival of the Seabees, the local population became curious, and while the bridge was closed for much of each day, they expressed appreciation for the repairs being done.
“There were people watching us at all times,” said Builder Third Class Skylar Brown. “It was cool to interact with people from another culture.”
Builder Third Class Autumn Searcy agreed. “It was a good feeling knowing that you’re helping the local (population),” she said.
The detail’s officer-in-charge, Lt. Kenneth Garcia said he was impressed with the crew’s initiative and hard work.
“We could not have finished it without the crew that we had. I would pick the same crew for any other project,” he said. “Hopefully we have given the Afghan (people) a bridge that will last for years to come.”
With the swift completion of the assigned task and additional time before they were scheduled to return, the crew took the opportunity to assist with force protection upgrades and quality of life enhancements to a nearby forward operating base and ANA post to further enhance their ability to patrol the region.
NMCB 133 is deployed to Afghanistan as Task Force Anchor to provide engineering support to coalition forces, the Afghan military and the local population.