Bagram Air Base
2003-2006: Use of Bagram Airbase by Allied Forces
According to an October 2003 AFPS story, airmen stationed at Bagram started moving from their living quarter tents into semi-permanent wooden structures called B-huts, designed to last three to four years. After that, military operations are expected to move to the other side of the runway, where more permanent structures will be put up. These semi-permanent timber structures are replacing our tents which have exceeded their life expectancy in this harsh environment.
While the eight-section temper tents being replaced held 16 to 24 airmen, the new B-huts hold eight occupants, enabling more personal living space. Because of space limitation in Bagram's Air Force Village, plans called for some airmen to be double bunked temporarily to empty some tents to make room for hut construction. Construction of the huts was being contracted out to local workers. The B-huts' design is upgraded from that of those used by the Army and feature larger living quarters with higher walls and screened windows.
By November 2003 B-huts were replacing the standard shelter option for troops. They were going up everywhere on Bagram making life a little more comfortable for coalition troops supporting Operation Enduring Freedom here at Bagram Air Base. There were several hundred, with plans to build close to 800 of them. The plans were to have nearly 1,200 structures built by 2006, but completion of the project was expected much earlier; possibly by July 2004.
The largest amount of B-huts were built at the old Italian camp which was for the Marines. There were e some going up in aviation, coalition forces areas; the Air Force got a good bit of them and Camp Blackjack had 40 of them. Construction pace was quick, and workers completed approximately eight homes every two weeks.
The increased number of B-huts not only provided a change for US troops. The new structures also appeared in housing areas of coalition troops and civilian employees as well. Coalition troops have them. Brown and Root personnel have them and actually there is one whole area called Contractor Village which consists of B-hut structures.
The increased construction fell under US Central Command standards of temporary housing and allowed for the building of B-huts on base, not to show permanence, but to raise the standard for troops serving here. The wooden structures have no concrete foundation thus not considered permanent housing, just an upgrade from the tents, the only option Bagram personnel and troops had seen previously.
The small homes offer troops protection from environmental conditions including wind, snow, sand and cold. They offer a nice place to stay and are an improvement from the tent. They have installation, electric, walls and ceilings. It's a lot warmer in the winter and in the summer it's a lot cooler. They don't get the wind and they are a lot quieter. On average, B-huts house up to eight people, as does the majority housing option, the tent. But with the B-hut comes a little more breathing room. Most of the tents are 16 by 32 feet. Where these B-huts are 18 by 36 feet. B-huts are a welcomed addition to housing on Bagram and personnel in charge of creating the structures said they are excited to give people working here better housing.
The facilities the Corps of Engineers are building at Bagram Air Force Base as well as other U.S. operational bases in Afghanistan are semi-permanent structures. Buildings which are constructed using more permanent materials such as cement blocks and provide a higher level of force protection than wooden or other less permanent types of construction. Cement blocks and concrete are also locally available while lumber or other prefabricated structures must be brought in from outside the region. Using locally available materials saves transportation costs and make these brick and mortar facilities close in price to less permanent types of facilities.
The general scope of work for construction is to upgrade the quality of life for U.S. Soldiers by improving their living conditions and operational facilities. Many of soldiers have been living in tents or wooden huts for over three years, which were originally designed to be used for 6-24 months.
Throughout September and October of 2006, A-10's from the 1st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron stationed at Bagram support US troops in operations Mountain Lion and Mountain Thrust providing close air support to coalition soldiers on the ground.
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