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Lance Cpl. Steven Reese, 21, combat engineer, Engineer Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), guides a heavy equipment vehicle during a bridge construction project in Haji Hanif Khan, Afghanistan, March 8. The combat engineers and heavy equipment operators of CLB-3's Engineer Company have conducted several civil development and military construction projects throughout Afghanistan since they arrived in October.

Photo by Cpl. Daniel Woodall

CLB-3 continues supporting, improving southern Helmand as redeployment draws near

15 Mar 2011 | Cpl. Daniel Woodall

Nearly 30 days from redeploying, the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) continue to conduct development projects and provide logistics support to various units operating in southwestern Afghanistan.

Since their arrival in October, the personnel of CLB-3’s Engineer Company have conducted numerous civil development and military construction projects to improve several areas throughout Afghanistan’s Helmand province. These projects include bridge construction, road repair, forward operating base improvements and patrol base builds.

Approximately 25 combat engineers and heavy equipment operators began constructing a bridge and repairing a weather-damaged roadway March 7 in Haji Hanif Khan – a small, rural community in Helmand province.

According to Sgt. Jacob Sharbono, 26, heavy equipment section noncommissioned officer in charge, Engineer Company, CLB-3, 2nd MLG (Fwd.), the bridge is the largest they’ve constructed during this current deployment. Though the engineers built six bridges in Afghanistan thus far, the Haji Hanif Khan bridge is by far the most complicated project due to its location. The bridge is centered at the junction of three waterways, which serve as the primary water source for several communities and villages.

“It’s important we don’t interrupt the Afghans’ water flow,” said Sharbono, a native of Charlo, Mont. “Projects like these are mutually beneficial for both Afghan citizens and military units. This bridge will greatly increase [2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment’s] mobility in the area, which in turn will improve the community’s security and economy.”

After three days of continuous operations, the Marines of CLB-3’s Engineer Company completed the bridge as Haji Hanif Khan’s citizens monitored their progress. From the early stages of the project, Afghan villagers took a vested interest in the bridge’s construction due to the impact it would have on their water and transportation needs.

According to Khliq Daad, a 57-year-old resident of Haji Hanif Khan, several towns will benefit from the bridge’s construction. The bridge and newly improved roadway allows large farming equipment and other vehicles to move uninterrupted throughout the area.

“Without the hi-tech equipment used by the Marines, we would not have the ability to improve this land,” said Daad, through an interpreter. “On behalf of my village, I express my appreciation for the engineers who make these improvements possible and to [the personnel of 2/1] for ridding our land of Taliban forces and improvised explosive devices. Now that we have better security and transportation, our town may be able to see further development in the construction of hospitals and schools. This town and all of Afghanistan should appreciate the good things U.S. Marines are doing.”

The engineer element of CLB-3, 2nd MLG (Fwd.) plans to conduct more projects in southern Helmand prior to transferring their authority to CLB-7 in April. Though their redeployment draws ever closer, CLB-3 personnel plan to provide continuous logistics support to several elements within Regimental Combat Team 1 throughout Helmand province.

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