Force Extraction Unit transforming Multi National Base – Tarin Kot
28 November 2013
Multi National Base – Tarin Kot (MNB-TK) has been transformed by major engineering works as Australian troops complete their mission in Uruzgan.
Combat engineers and tradesmen from 6th Engineer Support Regiment joined forces with civil engineers, project managers, surveyors and draftsmen from 19th Chief Engineer Works to form the Force Extraction Unit (FEU).
The engineering effort by FEU began in January focusing on the deconstruction of Australian infrastructure and the remediation to Australian standards of the ground at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot.
Civilian contractors working with FEU ranged from large international firms to local Tarin Kot contractors who provided assistance in the larger deconstruction projects and electrical supply relocations.
Major Christopher Sampson, Senior Project Engineer FEU, and his team were responsible for all military and contracted deconstruction works at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot from September 2013.
“The first rotation of FEU arrived in February and conducted on the ground planning for the deconstruction of unit facilities around the base, dictated by the cessation of their operations,” he said.
“This didn’t always align with our available assets, and in some cases units were required to move to alternate buildings allowing us to stay on schedule.
“Major deconstruction projects completed during my rotation included an ammunition storage point, contractors’ accommodation and the catering support facilities.
“We transformed the old perimeter of Camp Holland as the base shrunk in size and the entry control points were moved as we constructed the new perimeter.”
A gifting policy set by the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan allowed a significant amount of Defence infrastructure to be transferred to the Afghan Government rather than disposed of.
If facilities were not gifted, FEU demolished the sites and returned them to as natural a state as was possible.
Gifted infrastructure at Camp Holland and Camp Russell included the reinforced concrete accommodation and Drehtainer Armoured Accommodation Module complexes including the main dining facility along with the electrical generators and water reticulation systems.
Major Sampson said FEU’s main concern was providing infrastructure which was safe and sustainable by the Afghans.
“Electrical remediation was a major project because of the evolving nature of the base,” he said.
“The base in Tarin Kot has been inhabited by coalition forces––including the United States, Dutch, Slovak, Singaporean, New Zealand and Australian troops––continuously since 2004, which meant the electrical wiring was ‘ad hoc’ at times.
“We needed to ensure we handed over infrastructure which was as safe as possible, so our tradesmen installed new wiring and provided the 4th Brigade, 205th Corps with close to 30 facility operations and maintenance manuals translated into Dari.
“Their Garrison Support Unit soldiers were also provided with base sustainment training and taught extra skills in air conditioning, plumbing and electrical maintenance.”
Comprehensive environmental surveys were conducted at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot by FEU to ensure the ADF met its environmental management obligations in preparing to transfer responsibility to the Afghan Government.
Major Sampson said there were no significant environmental issues at the base.
“Uruzgan’s low rainfall and lack of vegetation assisted with the mitigation and when the ADF leaves the province any environmental hazards will have been appropriately treated,” he said.
“We will hand over a site which is safe and fit for use by its owners.
“The transfer of MNB-TK marks another step towards Afghanistan taking independent responsibility for its own security,” Major Sampson said.