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9th ESB demolishes safety hazard

4 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Anne Henry

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion worked tirelessly to deconstruct two buildings previously used to store M777A2 howitzer artillery pieces for the 12th Marine Regiment Aug. 9-30 at Camp Hansen.

Before the deconstruction process began, it was determined that the buildings were no longer sturdy enough to withstand the harsh weather on Okinawa. Their dilapidated state posed a threat to the security of the howitzers previously stored inside, according to Staff Sgt. Christian J. Keyser, a heavy-equipment operator with the unit. The buildings had to be demolished, to eliminate danger to personnel and property.

The deconstruction also provided a training opportunity for the combat engineers, according to 1st Lt. David A. Padgett, the officer in charge on the project.

“The Marines are getting to see how the building was constructed,” said Padgett. “They also get to learn their trade as combat engineers by deconstructing it piece by piece.”

The buildings were demolished in a methodical manner with the combat engineers cutting through materials and removing bolts and roof panels one by one, according to Sgt. Joseph W. Manning, a combat engineer with the unit. It was critical for the buildings to be deconstructed in such a meticulous way to ensure a safe working environment for the Marines involved with the project.
“We started this process by deconstructing the roof,” said Manning. “On projects such as this, we always want to start from the top of the building and work our way down for safety purposes.”

The task of demolishing the two weather-worn buildings required hard work and hours of labor from the Marines working on the site, according to Manning.

In the end, the Marines of 9th ESB received valuable hands-on, real-world training they can use in the future when constructing weather-resistant, permanent facilities for howitzers.

“The Marines have worked very hard and gotten a lot done in a very short period of time,” said Keyser. “Everyone worked together really well to accomplish the mission.”

The 9th Engineer Support Bn. is part of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionay Force.

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