Seabees Provide Water to Growing Kabul Compound

By Lt. j.g. Michael Dwyer, 130th Engineer Brigade, Joint Task Force Sapper



NMCB 28’s Water Well Team digs a trench to aid in recycling the drill rig mud, located behind them.  Photo by UTC David Asbury

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCBs) 26 and 28 form the Task Force Coda water well team in Kabul, Afghanistan. This is a highly specialized team that provides well repair, remediation and development service throughout Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan.

Led by UTC David Asbury, this team has mobilized at New Kabul Compound (NKC) to drill a well in support of the base’s ever-increasing population. Working 24-hour shifts over an estimated four weeks, the Seabees will drill a well greater than 1,000 feet deep.

Recently, the team conducted onsite training for senior leaders of the 130th Engineer Brigade Headquarters. Training consisted of several stations that articulated the full capability of a water well team and their current mission objectives.

“This is a unique mission since our team has never dug a well on this base,” said Asbury. “Other nations and contractors have dug wells on NKC, but not American forces.”

Due to this element, the project required significant data collection to ensure the safety of the soldiers and Seabees involved in the project, and ensure no existing utilities would be damaged in the process.

Asbury continued, “This project is proving to be a great opportunity to teach everyone on the water well team a little something new.”

Task Force Coda is planning to partner with the Afghan National Army National Engineer Brigade’s (ANA NEB’s) water well team. The NEB will eventually be the only ANA unit trained and able to provide this vital skill to bases throughout the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Afghan specialty engineers will work side-by-side with their Seabee partners to develop the necessary skills and experience needed to take over the mission later this year.

The Seabees, in keeping with their “Can Do” spirit, are eager and ready to show the NEB how to provide their brothers and sisters in arms with clean and safe water from the rugged mountains of Badakhshan to the deserts of Nimroz.


Seabees with NMCB 28’s Water Well Team work through the snow Feb. 23, New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan . Photo by UTC David Asbury


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