By SW2 (SCW) Holly Robinson, NMCB 25
CMCN Jedidiah Fox, NMCB 25 Water Well Det., replaces a pin on the top head of the water well drill rig on New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan. Operating under Task Force Ultimus, the team stands as the last remaining water well team in Afghanistan. Photos by SW2 (SCW) Holly Robinson
As contingency construction support missions are reduced in Kabul, Afghanistan, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25 Water Well Team continues to stay busy ensuring the water stays pure and does not run dry for those forces still deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Task Force Ultimus Det. began drilling operations on New Kabul Compound (NKC) April 14, launching its first drilling mission within Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan. The current Laibe Corp. drilling rig, tender and mud puppy system have been in rigorous use in Afghanistan’s area of operations since November 2011.
“There were three Laibe Corp. drilling rigs that arrived in 2011,” said Russ Theurer, NKC field support representative, “and two of these rigs have been sent back to the states.”
Members of the NKC Water Well team, headed by Chief Equipment Operator (SCW) Chad Strauser, have “spudded in” by placing steel surface casing to prevent well collapse and established the “mud program” to support drilling operations.
EO2 Kyle Edyt places drill string using a Laibe Corp. rig for water well drilling on New Kabul Compound (NKC), Afghanistan. Members of NMCB 25’s Water Well Det. have been tasked with the well on NKC as part of a contingency construction support mission in the Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan.
As the mainstay of the drilling process, the mud program includes the preparation of drilling fluid – a combination of mud, water and chemicals – for use in strengthening the bore hole, cooling the drill bit and removing cuttings.
Although much of water well drilling is unpredictable, the team anticipates water production at a depth of 600 feet.
“Formations throughout Afghanistan are very similar and we have consistently hit water at depths of 300, 500 and 900 feet,” said Theurer.
It is estimated the well will be able to produce 100 gallons of water per minute to support such necessities as food preparation, shower and restroom stations, laundry facilities and more within NKC. The team is currently conducting 24-hour drilling operations with the hope of successful well completion within four to six weeks.
In addition to drilling missions, the team will be tasked with a steady list of well repair missions.
“Many older wells need renovation,” said Theurer. “Pumps often need to be replaced, electrical or plumbing to those pumps may need renewed, and some wells even re-sanitized.”
Smaller, more mobile teams of Seabees will break off in support of these missions throughout Afghanistan. The teams will also partner with the Afghan National Army on future projects to mentor and strengthen highly demanded skills in water well drilling.
EO1 (SCW) Daniel Segretto, NMCB 25 Water Well Det., operates the Laibe Corp. drilling rig in support of water well drilling operations on New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan.
NMCB 25 is one of five active reserve battalions. It is a routinely deployable unit, standing ready to provide construction support for the Navy, Marine Corps and other organizations.