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For the past three weeks, Marines from 7th Engineer Support Battalion have hauled several metric tons of broken concrete and stone to banks of the Helmand River near Forward Operating Base Sabit Qadam, Afghanistan. The debris serves at the foundation of a causeway, which will provide a platform for a forthcoming bridge project. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski)

Photo by Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski

7th ESB drives Helmand River causeway completion

27 Sep 2011 | Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski

A causeway continues to extend across Helmand River thanks in large part to the continued efforts of Marines assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward).

The unit has made daily trips to the site over the last three weeks, each time hauling several metric tons of rubble to form the foundation of the growing peninsula. The compacted cement and dirt mixture will serve as a base to launch a forthcoming bridge that will span the remainder of the river.

“This will open an alternate ground route from 611 to 606,” said Capt. Charles Hunt, the company commander for Charlie Company, 7th ESB.

This new route will afford troops operating in the region with a safer route to areas northwest of Forward Operating Base Sabit Qadam, noted Hunt, a native of Decatur, Ala.

“It’s really going to help us push forward once it’s completed,” said Cpl. Carlos Sanchez, a heavy equipment mechanic with Support Co., 7th ESB, who, along with a detachment of others, is attached to FOB Sabit Qadam to liaison with the Marines who arrive with rubble-laden trucks each day.

The project consists of five phases – the development of the far and nearside approaches to the river made up phases one and two, with the third being the completion of the causeway itself. Phase four will be the launching of a medium-girder bridge from the edge of the causeway to the far side of the river and the project will culminate as the roadways are developed into one network.

As of Sept. 27, phase three was just mere feet from completion.

“Every day for the last three weeks these guys have run this route to make this project happen and they’ve done an outstanding job,” said Hunt. “It’s really turned into a joint effort though.”

Hunt noted that in addition to his own 7th ESB Marines, Combat Logistics Battalion 6, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 Seabees and Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 all played an instrumental role in completing the causeway. On top of providing trucks to assist with hauling the debris to the site, some units even provided extra manpower.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.


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