SSgt. Draper Robinson spoke for the unit:
“We’re here in Marjah, we’re doing road repair. We’re making the roads better, trying to improve them so that it’s easier for us to drive up and down and for the locals to get from where they are to where they want to go.
“It’s beneficial for both of us. The local population use the roads regularly, and a lot, with their heavy trucks and tractors and their personal vehicles up and down the roads. So it makes it easier for them and at the same time it makes it easier for us to get our trucks back and forth to where we need to go.”
“We’ve been able to see a lot of progress on the roads, we’ve put in a lot of hours, the Marines, all these guys here have been working hard. And so I think the success we’re seeing with the roads increasing in trafficability and just the overall… I think it’s leaving a good impression with the locals.
“There’s definite security issues that we deal with out here. As far as the actual work, we use the same heavy equipment – the graders and dumptrucks – same equipment and gear that we would use back home.
“We want to do it. We want to do our part, being over here.
“Frustrations? Um, yeah, there’s frustrations. All sorts of different little things go wrong, or different combat issues you have to deal with. But I think we cope well with it. We’ve got a really good group of guys here. We work really well together. And we help each other out.”
Morrison teaches photojournalism and multimedia reporting at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Ore.
Bagby is a freelance multimedia journalist who spent 10 months embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq for KVAL.com.