Route sanitation remains a vital piece in the war on terrorism. When piles of trash and debris are removed from the side of the roadway it eliminates places for terrorists to hide bombs and improvised explosive devices that would disrupt the lives of the neighborhood people. The Soldiers of the 277th Engineer Company work diligently with their combat arms brethren to ensure the main and alternate supply routes of Baghdad are clear of debris.
The 277th Eng. Co., an Army Reserve unit based mainly in San Antonio, but also deployed Soldiers from Washington and Missouri, attached to the 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), continues to work through the night to make the streets of Baghdad a safer place for the local populace and coalition forces.
The 277th engineers work collaboratively with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division who provided the security for the route sanitation operation. They conduct route clearance (security) before the route sanitation (clearing) begins.
Many of the engineers were excited to work with the well-known “All-Americans” of the 82nd Airborne Division.
“The 82nd Soldiers were a fun group of people to work with and I always enjoyed hearing them respond back with “Airborne!” said Spc. Dalton Newell, 277th Eng. Co., a heavy equipment operator.
To prevent too much disruption of traffic, the sanitation team conducted their missions in the late hours of the night with a Husky route clearance piece of equipment. The Husky operator’s job is to inspect and investigate suspicious trash, dirt, or debris sitting on the roads. It is a very important and dangerous job.
After the site was cleared by the Husky operator and an “All Clear” was called, the 277th engineers went to work cleaning up the streets. They used a bucket loader to remove the trash and piles from the roads and then had two dump trucks to haul away the debris.
“It was a challenge moving the loader through the narrow streets,” said San Antonio native Sgt. Daniel Tapia, heavy equipment operator, 277th Eng. Co. “It was also a challenge picking up the rubble on uneven ground of curbs, medians, or alley ways.”
However, the engineers were able to maneuver through the streets to conduct the mission in a safe manner.
Many nights are spent driving up and down Baghdad roads in the heavy engineer equipment just to make sure the engineers do their part to defeat terrorism and help make Baghdad a safer place for everyone.
“It is a good feeling when we are doing a good deed for the local Iraqis as well as for our troops,” said Sgt. Darrin Frieburg.
By 1st Lt. Michael Bauman
225th Engineer Brigade