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Cpl. Robert J. Sitler, from Philadelphia, a combat engineer with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), fills up a ground torch fuel tank to continue clearing a road April 7, 2011. The Marines rebuilt nearly 20 miles of roads to increase convoy access to combat outposts and forward operating bases as well as facilitate combat operations throughout Marjah, Afghanistan, in support of International Security Assistance Force operations.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Deep in the heart of Marjah: Engineers key to connection

7 Apr 2011 | Lance Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Combat outposts and patrol bases near Camp Hanson are no longer solely dependent on helicopter support teams (HST) for resupplies, since they can now be reached by land due to the efforts of Marines and sailors from 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) who recently reconstructed nearly 20 miles of road.

Nearly 70 Marines and sailors with 8th ESB made major improvements to several roads since the end of December to enhance accessibility into the deepest areas of Marjah, Afghanistan.

“We are supporting the Marines from [2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division (Fwd.)] with these roads,” explained Warrant Officer Tim E. Kessler, from Camdenton, Miss., the Equipment Platoon commander with 8th ESB, 2nd MLG (Fwd.). 

With improved roads Marines have more flexibility to operate based on tactical needs instead of logistical constraints.

“The battalions operating in this area can now push their HSTs further where they really need them, so they can establish their patrol bases where the [enemy] is,” Kessler said.  “So far, we have reached six patrol bases, which were HST-supported only and now they can receive their supplies via land.”

Afghans will be able to take advantage of these roads. The wider and stronger roads will simplify and shorten travel time.

 “Locals are going to benefit from these roads too, which they will use to get to their farms and houses faster,” Kessler concluded.

The troops with 8th ESB are scheduled to return stateside in the summer, but road repairs will continue by 7th ESB who will continue supporting International Security Assistance Force operations.


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