War on Terrorism

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Engineers Wire Up New Living Areas in Iraq



By Army Staff Sgt. April Mota
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 14, 2010 - Soldiers from 317th Engineer Company and 808th Engineer Company are providing electricity to the future living spaces of U.S. forces as they prepare to hand off their current housing to the Iraqi army. The move will happen as soon as soldiers from 1434th Engineer Company complete the new joint operations center at Contingency Operating Station Carver. Iraqi soldiers then will occupy a portion of Carver that currently is home to U.S. 10th Mountain Division soldiers.

The engineers are busy digging ditches, upgrading electrical boxes, burying cables and connecting boxes to generators that provide housing units with electricity. The new housing units will allow the U.S. soldiers to vacate the space their Iraqi counterparts plan to use as they continue toward independent operations.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Blanford of 1434th Engineer Company, who is responsible for some of the work done by the soldiers of 317th Engineer Company, said he was impressed with the soldiers' hard work. The most time-consuming part of the project was digging the ditches to bury the wires leading from the generator to the electrical boxes. The soldiers dug more than 60 feet of trenches by hand to conceal the cable.

Wiring the electrical boxes correctly is paramount in ensuring the quarters are safe, said Army Spc. Josue Delgado of San Antonio, who serves with 808th Engineer Company.

"We had to make sure the boxes didn't piggyback off each other," he explained. "They all have their own electric supply, [and] they are all routed and grounded properly, which is important. This makes sure there are no fire hazards."

Another challenging aspect of the project, Delgado said, was salvaging electrical boxes.

"The electrical boxes we used came from the [scrap yard]," he said. "We had to pick through, find proper boxes, then drill holes in the bottoms of the boxes to feed the wire through."

Creating housing to relocate the 10th Mountain Division soldiers is a vital part of U.S. forces handing responsibility to the Iraqi army at Carver, Delgado said.

(Army Staff Sgt. April Mota serves in U.S. Division Center with 101st Engineer Battalion, 16th Engineer Brigade.)

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