Engineers plan several projects on four islands

| June 10, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kendall (right) assesses water purification equipment with Maj. Chris Mills, both in the 14th Eng. Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, for the Marshallese living on Carlos Island, one of the islands that makes up the Republic of Marshall Islands. (1st Lt. Jason Carney | 14th Engineer Detachment, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kendall (right) assesses water purification equipment with Maj. Chris Mills, both in the 14th Eng. Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, for the Marshallese living on Carlos Island, one of the islands that makes up the Republic of Marshall Islands. (1st Lt. Jason Carney | 14th Engineer Detachment, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Spc. Brandon Ross
14th Engineer Detachment, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of Marshall Islands — Engineers embarked on their second non-military troop construction master plan mission, here, recently.

The master plan at the 14th Engineer Detachment, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, includes 22 projects, ranging from heavy demolition to building renovations and road repairs on four islands.

With the experience of a previous Pohakuloa Training Area troop construction master plan project under their belts, the engineers were well prepared to begin the mission. They gathered information, assessed facilities and complied a list of projects.

“The unique aspect of construction projects in Kwajalein Atoll is not all of the projects are on one island,” said 1st Lt. Jason Carney, Public Works engineer, 14th Eng. Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “We have identified projects on four islands — Kwajalein, Meck, Enniburr and Carlos, and each island has its own special considerations.”

Kwajalein Atoll is part of the chain of islands that makes up the Republic of Marshall Islands, with its largest island, Kwajalein, measuring less than two square miles. In exchange for military defense and funding for social services, the Republic of Marshall Islands allotted a portion of its land to the U.S. government for military operations.

Since the Korean War, Kwajalein Atoll’s primary focus has been to conduct ballistic missile testing, both nuclear and non-nuclear. Operations conducted there have made major advances to former President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program for missile defense.

Although Kwajalein Atoll is an ideal testing range for ballistic missiles due to its geography, the small and narrow islands offer very little shelter from the Pacific Ocean’s salt water. Because of the unique corrosive climate of the high-salt content in the atmosphere, and an average annual rainfall of more than 100 inches, the infrastructure of most buildings on the islands have a much shorter life cycle than usual. Corrosion of steel beams and struts are a major concern; mold can infest entire buildings in a matter of months.

Carney explained that Kwajalein Island has most of the construction projects and most of the logistical support, making construction missions there relatively hassle-free for units. He said very few Marshallese live on this island, but many of the projects are in environmentally sensitive areas.

In contrast, Carlos Island has virtually no logistical support for construction units, and many Marshallese children live very close to and play at the demolition site.

The construction projects will be used for either training opportunities for U.S. Army-Pacific engineers in troop-to-task construction projects or be the basis for hiring construction contractors.

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