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12 WORLD NEWS
Army May 12, 2011
WHEREVER Army engineers deploy they quickly adapt to
their new environment and try to make it like home.
In October, combat engineers attached to Combat
Team Charlie began building a place to escape the pres-
sures of IED hunting and searching for weapons caches
in the Deh Rewud region of Uruzgan province.
Sgt Craig Townsend is the 3 Tp engineering sergeant
and organised the building of the shack.
"It took 18 of us to build, including Akka [Cpl Richard
Atkinson, killed by an IED on February 2], and in the
beginning we didn't have one screw to start construction,"
Sgt Townsend said.
"I begged and borrowed materials to build it."
Affectionately christened the "Akka Shack" by those
who built it, the shack is the ultimate getaway location for
the deployed engineers.
It's quite a feat of engineering construction considering
the remoteness of FOB Hadrian's location.
"It has a big-screen TV with pay television, two split-
system air conditioners, a lounge suite, table, fridge, two
computers, including one DRN terminal, and a micro-
wave," Sgt Townsend said.
"Out the back we have a workshop, where we can
build anything else we need, and we have a storage area.
"I'd even like this in my backyard in Australia."
The Akka Shack will be handed over to the care of
the incoming engineering element from 3CER when they
arrive in early July.
-- Sgt Andrew Hetherington
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
ANZAC Day meant more than ever
to the men of Combat Team Charlie
deployed to Forward Operating
Base Hadrian in Uruzgan province,
After the death of Cpl Richard
Atkinson on February 2, the 163 men of
Combat Team Charlie had him foremost
in their thoughts this Anzac Day.
OC Maj David French said his men
had soldiered on since the incident.
"It was a huge challenge for them,
but they rebounded very well and they
were back on patrol two days after the
incident," Maj French said.
The combat team began Anzac Day
with a 4.30am gunfire breakfast in the
FOB mess and a traditional tot of rum in
their coffee before they assembled on the
Waiting for them were two rifles bay-
oneted into the hard Afghan earth with
helmets resting on the butts and a memo-
rial board displaying the 23 names of
Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
In front of them were two red roses
freshly picked from the garden that bor-
ders the parade ground.
It was the first time Spr Toby Lucas
had commemorated Anzac Day while on
"This year it means a fair bit to me as
my section commander, Cpl Atkinson,
was killed earlier in the year," Spr Lucas
"It hits home a bit more than other
Anzac Days and I'm proud to be over
here fighting in his name."
The dawn service was followed
by breakfast and games of two up
and crown and anchor. Each man also
enjoyed a ration of two beers.
One enthusiastic and successful two-
up player was Spr Stephen Burgess.
He went to the trouble of dressing in
Australian flag board shorts and smoked
a honey-flavoured cigar while he tossed
a few rounds of the iconically Australian
game of chance.
"Anzac Day for me is to remember
and show respect to my fellow soldiers
and family members who've died in
wars," he said.
"It's pretty cool being deployed on
Anzac Day, as I'm doing my job for real
and by being here we've brought one of
our remembrance days to other militaries
that wouldn't know what it was."
He brought something else to the
game other than his ocker personality.
"I found this air horn lying around
and thought it might cheer the boys up."
The house that Akka built
Memorial: Sgt Craig Townsend was proud
to name the engineers' recreation building in
honour of Cpl Richard Atkinson.
Lest we forget: Soldiers from Combat Team Charlie hold an Anzac Day
dawn service at FOB Hadrian.
Photos by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
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