By Capt. Stacie N. Shafran, International Security Assistance Force Headquarters
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 12, 2007 — A day in the life of a project engineer fills up pretty quickly. Between meetings and constant walks around the base to survey projects, there's concrete to be poured, gravel to be delivered and contractors needing guidance. This will be the norm for Capt. Dave Lin over the course of his six-month deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan. As an engineer assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, headquarters, he is responsible for $20 million worth of construction projects around the camp. With nearly 1,200 people assigned to the headquarters from 30 contributing nations, Lin not only interacts with international colleagues, but also seven Afghan contractors and 300 laborers.
"One of the best aspects of this deployment is interacting with the locals," he said. "I'm challenging them by teaching them new and more efficient means of construction and together we're striving to provide the best product for HQ ISAF."
Among the projects on their to-do list are constructing more accommodations, a new conference center, a fitness center, a perimeter wall and most importantly, installing an underground sewer system. Despite the cold, snow, mud, and language barrier, the captain is confident in his team's abilities to fulfill the mission. This sense of optimism, along with his strong leadership and technical skills, is something he's cultivated since graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2000 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering. "Even though I'm deployed in a combat zone, I find it really rewarding to work with the locals. They always have a smile on their face and it's great to see that they're rebuilding their own country," he said. "We're teaching the Afghans basic construction practices that they can use in the future projects, but in a safer manner and of better quality."
ISAF is comprised of more than 32,000 troops from 37 NATO countries and non-NATO nations. Its primary role is to support the government of Afghanistan in providing a secure environment to facilitate the rebuilding of Afghanistan