Home' Army News : August 1st 2013 Contents Army August 1, 2013
Cpl Mark Doran
equipment from Afghanistan
is a large-scale job requiring
significant planning as the ADF
approaches the end of its mission
Radios, towers, antennas and
the many kilometres of cable link
the communications infrastructure
in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kot.
The challenge for the commu-
nicators is removing the bulk of
this infrastructure while maintain-
ing mission essential capabilities
until the final day.
The Tarin Kot-based com-
munications extraction team
consists of 13 Army and nine
RAAF personnel who are part
of A Sqn, Force Communication
Coordinated planning is
required between FCU, civilian
contractors and the small team
responsible for winding up com-
munications support to the mis-
sion in Uruzgan.
Sgt Warren Dunn, of 127 Sig
Tp, 1 Sig Regt, is part of the
extraction/installation team and
said they were well ahead of the
timeline to pack up and return to
“We can’t leave anything until
the last minute,” he said.
“With our planning and coor-
dination we have been able to get
the jump on any problems before
they actually happen.
“It has also been good hav-
ing Army and Air Force work-
ing together, especially with
the broad range of skill-sets the
RAAF personnel have brought.
“The cross pollination has
given us a greater spectrum of the
work we can complete.”
Climbing the 25m antenna
masts is a task for the riggers and
can be a test of endurance with
current temperatures in Tarin Kot
above 40 degrees Celsius.
Sig Jacob Wilkinson, of 1 Sig
Regt, is on his first deployment
to Afghanistan and said the rig-
gers had completed dogging and
rigging courses which allowed
them to climb the antenna towers
“When climbing you have
to be fairly coordinated and
switched on as there is a lot hap-
pening simultaneously,” he said.
“Communication is very
important when completing this
task as you rely on the people
working around you and you
don’t want to let anyone down.
“We don’t get to climb the
masts that often, so when we do it
is very enjoyable.
“My deployment has been
better than expected as there is a
high tempo of work for our close-
knit team and I am getting to see
a fair bit of Afghanistan.”
Communications drawdown a balancing act
High flyers: Sigs Jacob Wilkinson and Christopher Martin, from the Tarin Kot-based communications extraction team,
prepare to hook a section of antenna mast to a crane as the ADF begins to scale down its infrastructure at Multinational
Base Tarin Kot.
Photo by Cpl Mark Doran
Cpl Mark Doran
PLANS to drawdown troops and
equipment from Tarin Kot are well
From early February the Force
Extraction Unit (FEU) has been
undertaking tasks to remove infra-
structure, including Drehtainer
armoured accommodation modules,
as Australia prepares for the end of its
mission in Uruzgan.
Of about 1300 modules owned by
Australia at Multinational Base Tarin
Kot, almost 430 have been recovered
over the past five months.
Nearly 170 of the modules were
transferred for use at the Afghan
National Army Officer Academy near
Kabul and planning is under way for
a large number to be gifted in situ to
the ANA 4th Bde, 205th Corps.
The remaining accommodation
modules have been transported to
Kandahar Airfield, where some will
be available for use by Australian
trainers and advisers into 2014 and
CO FEU Lt-Col Paul Wright said
it was a detailed process to prepare
nearly 30 14-tonne modules a week
“We have had contractors from
Drehtainer on site for the past six
months who have assisted with
deconstruction of the modules and the
internal fittings,” he said.
“Once the roof is removed, the
modules are separated and the force
protection barriers come down,
they are then cleaned and repaired
if necessary before being moved to
the overflow yard and prepared for
A civilian transport contract was
arranged by the Joint Movement
well under way
Force Extraction Team breaks down accommodation blocks
Control Office to move the modules
Australian troops first occupied
the Tarin Kot base in mid-2006 and
by 2010 there were more than 1000
Australian personnel on the base, with
a further 2500 coalition forces also in
the location at that time.
As the troop numbers increased,
so did the infrastructure to protect
against insurgent rocket attacks.
Lt-Col Wright said the FEU
planned to remove all surplus
facilities from the site by mid-
“International and local contractors
have been engaged for the deconstruc-
tion and demolition works along with
an Army construction troop,” he said.
A specialist environmental officer
will ensure all disposal, deconstruc-
tion and remediation work is in line
with Australian and the International
Security Assistance Force guidelines.
Packing up: Sgt Steven Henderson, of FSU, supervises the loading of a Drehtainer armoured accommodation module en route to Kandahar as
Australian troops prepare for the end of their mission in Uruzgan province. Inset, accommodation modules are dismantled on the base.
Photos by Cpl Mark Doran
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