Friday, September 07, 2007

The Weld Team at Dragon

By 2nd Lt. Liz Lopez

On a hot September afternoon, three sets of eyes were riveted upon a tower at Patrol Base Dragon. They were searching for issues. There are always issues.
“Let’s go see if there are any other interesting challenges,” said Spc. Travis Yaggy, a native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, as he moved into the tower.
For the past couple of months, the welders in Company B, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, “Commando Providers,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), have been ranging the battle space, upgrading the force protection on the maneuver battalions’ many towers.
The enhancements include shields in the windows, ladder additions, and a pulley system which allows Soldiers to raise and lower heavy burdens into and out of the tower with ease.
With at least one tower at every patrol base and multiple towers at some of the larger forward operating bases in the area of operations, this task is mammoth.
On a good day, it takes the team between four to five hours to complete a single tower. On a bad day, they might be lucky just to finish one.
Although to an untrained eye, the towers look like standard structures, each tower is different. With this to contend with, the weld team has no choice but to custom-build all of the enhancements for each of the towers.
“Every last one is a different ‘uh-oh,’” explained Sgt. Benjamin Wormsby of Pittsburgh, Pa.
There is no cookie-cutter solution to completing the project. Every improvement must be built on site, fitted and perfected to the individual specifications of the structure.
“They are all pretty big projects,” said Spc. Juan Andino, a native of Houston, Texas.
The team has come a long way from their first tower, which took them days of work and multiple trips from Camp Striker to the site to complete.
The team has grown quite a bit more experienced since that first tower. Nevertheless, they still like to look at their mission as only one tower at a time.
“This one is going to be an adventure,” said Wormsby as he walked back to the truck after the tower survey.
It may be a challenge, but it is nothing the weld team cannot handle. When something needs to get done, they find a way.
They do not do it for themselves, but for the young war fighters who sit up in the towers everyday to provide protection for their comrades below. There is always a way to make these Soldiers’ lives better. In the end, that is the Providers only mission. It is a mission in which they’ve had many a success.

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