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Lance Cpl. Josh Davis, a heavy equipment operator with Heavy Equipment Platoon, Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), fills a dump 7-ton while helping to build a landing pad, on Forward Operating Base Nolay, Dec 3. The landing pad will be used for a blimp that has a camera attached to it and will keep a protective watch over Marines in the area.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik

8th ESB builds landing pad for ‘eye in the sky’

4 Dec 2010 | Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik

Marines from 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), constructed a landing pad here in Sangin, Dec. 4, for an unmanned aerial blimp that will be used to keep video surveillance of the surrounding area.

The blimp has the ability to keep Marines in or around the forward operating base safe by providing a constant eye in the sky. The blimp’s high-powered cameras provide a means for early detection of any possible dangers in the area.

The process of constructing the landing pad required the use of a lot of heavy machinery to level out the ground.

“Before we started the area was covered in about a foot of moon dust [dirt],” said Sgt. Joseph M. Shurin, the site foreman with Heavy Equipment Platoon, Service Company, 8th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD). “First, we cut off the moon dust, then began leveling.”

“There was a big hole where the corner of the landing pad was,” added Lance Cpl. Steven E. Sanders, a heavy equipment operator with the platoon. “There was also a small hill that ran through the area, and we had to cut it down. We had surveyors here to give us exact measurements and tell us what exactly needed to be done.”

The Marines worked day and night on the project and finished in less than four days. This is one of the platoon’s first projects since their arrival to Afghanistan in November.

“Doing this in Afghanistan gives these Marines a chance to do some things they would otherwise never get to do,” said Shurin, 33, from Westchester, Ohio. “They don’t get to do this type of work in the States. They’ve done a good job and learned a lot.”

The Marines’ efforts will help provide extra security for coalition forces in the region.

“The blimp keeps a protective eye over us, and it provides a good amount of security,” said Sanders, 21, from Edmond, Okla. “Hopefully, it will [help us] spot suspicious activity and prevent anything bad from happening.”


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