Saturday, May 3, 2008

Looking ahead; Marines prepare al-Asad for future

Lance Cpl. Michael Stevens
AL-ASAD, Iraq (April 28, 2008) – Marine Wing Communication Squadron 38 is preparing Al Asad Air Base for future military operations by updating the underground wiring system across the base.
During the construction project, Marines replace older equipment with newer, more efficient technology.

Outside plant, or OSP, Marines with MWCS-38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), are responsible for running the fiber and copper lines through duct and manhole systems outside. A separate entity in the squadron is inside plant, which works inside buildings and connects the outside lines with the internal ones to complete the link.

“We’re making all these changes and updates so we have a good product to turn over to the Iraqis down the line,” said Gunnery Sgt. Wesley E. Krohn, the outside plant staff noncommissioned officer in charge with MWCS-38. “We’re always improving the system that’s in place, constantly looking to the future.”

The OSP Marines perform these tasks in three key steps; pull out the old cable, perform a conduit survey and repair if necessary, and run the new cable through the conduit system.

Conduits are wire-protective casings, which when installed correctly, prolong and protect the wires and cables while making it easier to gain access if needed.

During the projects, Marines found that the older conduits were improperly installed, damaged by other dig projects or had filled with dirt and rocks.

The Marines take their time, carefully removing the old casings and installing new ones, ensuring they don’t disturb the other power lines buried in the ground.

“We could have been selfish and just replaced the wires and cables, but we thought about the future and wanted to make it easier for anyone who will be working with the system down the line,” said Cpl. Joseph W. Gajewski, a team leader and ground radio technician with MWCS-38. “These jobs will make the system more effective and efficient for the future.”

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