New Engineers Drilling Wells in Djibouti
Photos and Story By Air Force Staff Sgt Jennifer Redente
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti (Army News Service, Jan. 2, 2008) - For the past year, the mission of the 1132nd Engineering Detachment Well Drilling Team has been to provide potable water to the people of Djibouti, but now their mission is to train their replacements to do the same.
Before the well drillers head back to Mooresville, N.C., this month, they are training their sister unit, the 1133rd Engineering Detachment Well Drilling Team on the best equipment available in well drilling for the terrain of eastern Africa.
"We only received four days of training on the new drill rig," said Army Sgt. 1st Class William R. Brown, 1132nd Engineering Detachment Well Drilling Team lead driller and acting first sergeant. "The rest, we had to teach ourselves or simply ask a ton of questions."
The 1132nd wants to ensure that their sister unit, a team of nine that has three personnel with a sufficient amount of training on well drilling, is well educated and trained on the equipment to make sure they continue to provide water, which isn't readily available to people in the region.
"We want to give them all the tools they need to succeed," said Brown. "We would like them to be prepared and as successful as we have been."
The 1133rd has experience working with Army well drilling machinery, but due to the equipment being civilian-leased, the technology has different controls and modes of operation.
"Our team has been trained to drill wells using all the methods available to us," said Army Master Sgt. Andrew D. Odom, 1133rd Engineering Detachment Well Drilling Team commander. "We will need to spend some time getting familiar with this new equipment."
Receiving additional on-the-job training provides the 1133rd a better understanding of how much the climate and the types of earth in Djibouti impact the mission and how they can recover and carry on by adjusting and correcting the problem.
In preparation for what they may experience, the 1133rd has completed one of two wells, which has not only been training for the 1133rd but will also assist CJTF-Horn of Africa by providing another source of water to Camp Lemonier.
"All camp personnel will benefit from the wells being drilled by the training," said Senior Chief Construction Electrician Douglas K. Heiner. "Along with a water distribution system upgrade, the wells will give us additional capacity to have potable water throughout the camp where we will be able to bottle our own water and have an ice plant saving nearly $1 million annually in bottled water alone."
The sister units will be moving off camp to a site outside of Djibouti where they will receive training on the use of a hammer-drill attachment in January. The well drillers are part of the CJTF-HOA mission to conduct operations such as drilling wells to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interest in order to prevail against extremism.
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente serves with CJTF-HOA Public Affairs.)