SANGIN, Afghanistan --
Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), conducted route improvement operations in the Sangin District of Afghanistan, Dec. 5.
“We are improving Route 611 in order to provide a safer route for resupply missions and improve the infrastructure of Afghanistan,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marvin E. Klakken, platoon commander, Heavy Equipment Platoon, Service Company, 8th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD). “We are taking a dirt road that’s 12 feet wide and improving it to 24 to 32 feet wide.”
The 8th ESB Marines added shoulders and drainage to stabilize the road, laid down gravel that was extracted from the Helmand riverbed and compacted and smoothed out the road with a grader.
The improvements will give the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Forward), a safer route to patrol since the compacted gravel will make it more difficult for the enemy to lay improvised explosive devices.
“It gives 3/5 a better route to travel in order to get to [patrol bases],” said Klakken, 36, from Gravity, Iowa.
Marines with Heavy Equipment Platoon worked an average of 15-hour days, using the cover of darkness to complete their mission. This is one of the first route improvement missions the 8th ESB Marines have conducted since arriving to Afghanistan last month.
“We have a lot of new Marines and they’ve adapted well,” said Klakken. “I’m proud of the Marines and what they’ve done.”
The Marines with the unit are glad to have made a positive impact on both Afghan locals and coalition forces that will travel along the road. Not only does the improved road provide a safer and more efficient route for coalition forces to transport personnel and equipment, but it also allows Afghan villagers to travel more safely to and from the local markets.
“Its an honor and a privilege to help build this road for Afghans and help out the Marines of 3/5,” said Lance Cpl. Tom J. Bernhofer, a motor transportation operator with Heavy Equipment Platoon, Service Company, 8th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD).