Photo Information

Engineers with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), fill Hesco barriers at a new combat outpost in Musa Qal’eh, Nov. 13, 2010. Afghan forces were in need of a defensive position due to enemy activity in a near by town.

Photo by Cpl. John McCall

Marine engineers build outpost after clearing insurgents from town

17 Nov 2010 | Cpl. John McCall

After an operation led by Afghan forces to eliminate the enemy threat in a local town, engineers with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), were sent to build a new guard post to maintain security in the area, Nov. 13-14.

Afghan National Army soldiers, Afghan National Police officers and Marine police mentoring teams, set up ambush positions during the night to conduct a surprise attack on enemy insurgents operating within the town.

The following day engineers went to work, constructing a new patrol base for Afghan forces to conduct missions from.

Working through the night and into the early morning, engineers were able to get the new post constructed so that Coalition forces would not lose the newly acquired foothold.

“Building this new post was very important because Afghan forces need a place operate out of,” said Cpl. Matthew Ortiz, 21, a team leader from San Antonio. “All of our work goes toward helping them defeat the Taliban which is why we are here.”

With the new patrol base established, Marines of 1st CEB were tasked with conducting a deliberate clear of the town to ensure there were no improvised explosive devices.

“It’s important that locals can feel safe where they live and don’t have to worry about IED's,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher McDowell, 19, a combat engineer from Canon City, Colo. “Now that there is someone watching the town the IED threat should go down.”

Providing direct support to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, during the clear, engineers swept the town and searched suspicious compounds for weapons and IED making materials.

“Now that the town is safe, the ANA can do their job and eventually take back their country,” Ortiz added.

With a new post built and the town secure, Afghan security forces can maintain a presence in the area and drive out any enemy combatants still willing to fight.