The Charleston District is proud of its employees who continue to volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Overseas Contingency Operations. To date, the District has supported more than 35 volunteers who serve in a variety of duties, including project managers, safety officers and more to facilitate construction of critical infrastructure and public facilities. This series of articles will feature the duties of different deployees and the job they do to serve two nations.
Jason Riharb deployed in January 2012 to Afghanistan Engineer District South and is currently the project engineer on three projects; two for the Afghan National Police Force and one for the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan who will be mentored through the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Central Command. For Riharb, work there is nothing like that in the states; days are typically full of mentoring contractors and breaking through language and cultural barriers to construct structures that won’t burn down or fall apart at the slightest change of barometric pressure. It’s a very challenging environment for those who are used to the land of overabundance and convenience. His every move goes through a transportation coordinator to ensure his safety, and the site inspections are always accompanied by armored vehicles and a posse of extremely talented security specialists. Riharb is paired with a great team of experienced and commonsense-minded professionals. They all live, work and laugh on a small FOB (forward outlying base) which isn’t too forward, or all that outlying... but none the less, it forces them to become very well acquainted with each other. It’s been an interesting experience for him so far and he is thoroughly enjoying it (the pay isn’t bad either!), but it’s not for the faint of heart.