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Cpl. Christopher Snortland, a combat engineer with Company A, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, cuts support pieces for the roof of a watch tower during the 9th ESB Enhanced Mojave Viper training March 10.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

9th ESB completes training for Afghanistan deployment

19 Mar 2010 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Marines and sailors from 9th Engineer Support Battalion from Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, wrapped up their Enhanced Mojave Viper training at the Combat Center with the completion of building a forward operating base March 12.

The battalion had one week to tear down the old FOB and finish building FOB Viking.

“This helps us to get used to working with a lack of resources,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Roderick Coleman, the operations chief for 9th Engineer Support Battalion.

During the training, all the resources were delivered on 7-ton trucks; the battalion had no other way of gathering supplies.

Despite having limited resources and supply lines, the battalion had demolished the old FOB and turned the area into landscape similar to the surrounding area in only three days.

“It took us two days to put the burm up, with vehicles providing security until the watch towers were finished,” said Sgt. Tim Patterson, a platoon guide for Company A, 9th ESB.

The battalion’s first priority once they started the actual construction of the FOB was to secure the area until the fortifications could be completed.

“Our security has been doing well throughout the exercise,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Gilmore, a combat engineer with 9th ESB. “We had a white truck pass through the area the other night, and our sentries spotted it and stayed on it until it headed out of sight.”

During the training the leaders noticed the Marines and sailors growing as a unit and learning more about their military occupational specialty.

“At the start of this exercise, the work was a little slow and the Marines were not communicating very well with one another,” Patterson said. “Now my Marines know what they’re supposed to do and can give the commands needed without a lot of mistakes.”

The battalion is now home on leave before deploying to Afghanistan this spring. For more information on the battalion, log onto http//

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