NMCB 28's MSR Repair Team Keeps Convoys Rolling in Iraq
Story Number: NNS070809-21
Release Date: 8/9/2007 6:23:00 PM
By Lt. Michael Wilkinson, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 Public Affairs
AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq (NNS) -- The Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 have been patching holes in the Main Supply Routes (MSR) and Alternate Supply Routes (ASR) so convoys can safely and quickly deliver critical materials and supplies to forces located along the frontlines since March.
Road systems in the far reaches of Iraq are in poor condition. With coalition forces hauling numerous heavy loads, the roadways can have considerable deterioration which can potentially give insurgents more hiding places for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s).
Most IED’s are discovered by route clearance teams and some are discovered by the convoys who call the Explosive Ordnance Disposal units to come and conduct controlled detonations to eliminate the threat.
NMCB 28 is responsible for conducting repairs on more than 80 kilometers of MSR. Marine support from Combat Logistic Battalion 2 and 1st Combat Engineer Battalion enable the Seabee team to go out and patch holes that are impeding convoy progress.
To make repairs, water is added to patch material, mixed and then poured into the prepped crater or pothole. The quick-setting mixture enables the road to be opened to traffic within minutes after the last bucket is poured.
“Every member of the team knows the dangers involved, but they willingly go out time after time to keep coalition [forces] convoys and the Iraqi people safe and moving,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Jeffrey Binder, MSR repair team leader. “I couldn’t ask for a better group.”
The youngest team member, Equipment Operator Constructionman Jorge Perez, is glad to be a part of the process.
“This assignment has really made the deployment worthwhile,” said Perez. “It’s good to get through with a mission and know you’ve made a difference. I like this job.”
Knowledge may be the biggest asset these reservists bring to the fight. Equipment Operator 2nd Class David Grey has many years of experience working with concrete in the United States and his knowledge is invaluable to every mission.
Construction Mechanic 1st Class Theodore Williams tracks the team’s progress. He collects their work information for reporting to higher headquarters.
“My job is a small part of the MSR’s mission; however, if I drop the ball, their mission can get a whole lot harder,” said Williams who is responsible for maintaining an adequate supply of material to conduct operations.
The Route Repair mission has high priority and is being tracked by the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force Engineering Department. Occasionally, the team will have a special passenger. Master Gunnery. Sgt. Keith Parshall is one of the driving forces behind the engineers’ efforts to keep these routes open.
“The effort is really two-fold,” said Parshall. “First, to keep the routes open and second to eliminate locations for placing IED’s and reduce that threat to our troops.”
Despite the daunting challenge of attempting to repair the numerous kilometers of MSR and innumerable kilometers of ASR, the team is determined to go out time and time again to do the behind-the-scenes work to complete the mission.
“The success of this important engineer tasking is truly a result of coordinated security planning with supporting units allowing the Seabees of NMCB 28 to focus on the construction and repair of the roadways,” said NMCB 28’s operation officer Lt. Cmdr. Daryll Long. “The team has repaired more than 100 holes in the western Al Anbar province of Iraq since its implementation one month ago.”
In addition to the route repair team based out of Al Asad, NMCB 28 has an identical team based out of Camp Fallujah that works on roadways in and around their area of responsibility.
NMCB 28 is part of more than 1,100 Sailors and Marines supporting critical construction efforts in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
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