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Lance Cpl. Miguel Covarrubiaz, a heavy equipment operator with Support Platoon, Company B, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, places concertina wire around a newly constructed traffic control point Nov. 12 near Rutbah, Iraq. The platoon built the new TCP in support of the Marines with Tango Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, RCT-5 to monitor local traffic. The new TCP will be operated by both Marines and the local Iraqi police.

Photo by Cpl. Shawn Coolman

Combat Engineers help ensure safety

13 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Shawn Coolman

Although the Iraqi Security Forces are now in control here, increased safety is still a consideration for the Coalition forces conducting operations in the area.

Marines with Support Platoon, Company B, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 began construction on a new traffic control point near Rutbah, Iraq, Nov. 10.

The platoon is building the new TCP in support of service members with Tango Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, RCT-5 to monitor the increased flow of the Iraqi populace in the area.  The existing TCPs here, which are operated by both Marines and Iraqi Police, have become less efficient over time.

“The old TCPs were degraded and deteriorated, and the flow of traffic wasn’t as efficient as it could be, so we are improving them,” said Sgt. Casey R. Christensen, 28, heavy equipment operator chief with Support Platoon.

The platoon is implementing a new design for the TCP which is tailored to provide the Marines here with improved security measures. 

“We (combat engineers) came up with a design for the future TCPs, and we are building the prototypes now,” said Christensen, from Saltese, Mont. “This is the first time a TCP like this has been built, and it will also streamline the (Iraqi identification) process and better protect the Marines manning it.” 

During the construction, local Iraqi Police lent a helping hand securing the road near the TCP, re-routing traffic away from the working Marines.

“The IPs also guard the work site at night from insurgent (activity),” added Christensen.

“We’re here doing our job and the Iraqi Police are doing theirs, and it’s good to see all the training that has been given to them is putting them in the position to keep the area secure,” said Lance Cpl. Doug P. Hudson, 20, a heavy equipment operator with Support Platoon from Redlands, Calif., who is on his first deployment here.

The platoon also has other construction plans in support of the Marines with Tango Battery, 2nd Bn., 10th Marines.

“The next (TCP) we are building is the same design, but bigger,” said Christensen. “We are also building two (overwatch positions) and an improved entry control point, among other smaller projects.”

This is Hudson’s first multi-faceted mission since arriving here in early October, and he wants to do everything he can to keep the Coalition force members here safe.  

“This is the biggest thing that I have ever done, and I’m just glad that I’m doing my part in keeping the Marines here safe,” added Hudson. “I hope that by me doing my part here the Marines can successfully accomplish their mission and be safe doing it.”


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