Construction gains steam on Taqaddum medical facility

16 Feb 2006 | Cpl. Daniel J. Redding 1st Marine Logistics Group

Through a joint effort among Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, Camp Taqaddum’s new expeditionary medical facility will soon be completed.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 22, part of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, is continuing the efforts of several units over the course of the last year., seeking to provide Camp Taqaddum, home of the 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), with a state of the art shelter.

The facility will be home to the Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon here, which provides immediate life-saving surgical care to all persons – military and civilian – who have been wounded in this war.

A difficulty the units have faced as they have sought to begin construction has been getting their hands on quality materials, said Navy Lt. Jay E. Lowack, officer-in-charge of the project and Charlie Company commander for the Fort Worth, Texas-based unit.

More specifically, quality concrete has been hard to come by, said Lowack, 29, a native of Arlington, Texas.

“Getting materials for the concrete has been painful,” Lowack said, adding that this inability to get quality gravel and sand, among other things, has been the main delay in the project.

Although they are surrounded by desert, sand necessary for concrete must be a certain kind or the strength of the concrete will be affected.

“Our biggest difficulty [in getting the concrete] is our environment,” explained Petty Officer 1st Class Pat D. Garrett, a native of Austin, Texas, and the project leader, referring to being in a deployed arena.

The project is expected to take several months, said Senior Chief Evans J. Adkins, 56, a native of Amarillo, Texas and the project manager.

All other materials needed for construction of the facility are on hand, Lowack said, having been ordered several months prior.

Construction initially began last year, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Air Wing out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. and the Army’s 983rd Engineer Support Battalion, a reserve unit out of Ohio, taking the first steps of construction..

The new cement floor is expected to be poured over the course of the next several weeks, Lowack said.

He cautioned, however, that the unreliable material supply hampers the speed they are capable of working at.

Once the concrete has been poured, the plywood structure of the facility will then be erected, said Garrett, 42.

At this point in the construction of the wooden structure, NMCB 22 will transfer control of it to their replacements, who will then begin installing the basic electricity and plumbing, he continued.

Finally, the overall final touches of the structure – inside and out – will be completed, along with the plumbing and electricity.

Ultimately, the unit is happy to provide the improved medical facility to the sailors of the Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon, Garrett said, so they can provide the best care possible for the Marines here.

The SSTP tackles rapid response and treatment of persons wounded while operating in and around the Al Anbar Province for coalition forces.

This combination of emergency medicine and rapid surgical care is proving to be effective in saving lives, said Col. David Richtsmeier, commanding officer, 1st MLG Forward.

The sailors of NMCB 22, along with the 4,000 deployed servicemembers of 1st Marine Logistics Group based here, are part of the 25,000 servicemembers of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force’s forward deployed element.

The 1st MLG’s mission is to provide sustained logistical support to I MEF and Iraqi Security Forces operating in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. First MLG will also support the development of the ISF’s logistical capabilities in order to enable independent ISF led counter-insurgency operations.

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