You are on page 1of 2


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Building Strong ®

579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) Global Support

Afghanistan bound engineer team standing tall, looking good

by Mark Abueg
VICKSBURG, Miss. (April 3, 2010) – A U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers deployable detachment cased its colors yesterday as
it prepared for movement to Afghanistan.

The Soldiers and Civilians of the 579th Engineer Detachment

(Forward Engineer Support Team - Main) were honored by
family, friends and the Vicksburg community during a deployment
ceremony here in front of the Vicksburg District building. Other
U.S. Army organizations, including the Mississippi Valley
Division, Vicksburg District, Engineer Research and
Development Center, and the 412th Theater Engineer Command
gathered to pay tribute and send off the team. Brig. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, right, looks on as Command Sgt. Maj. Harry L. Collins,
left, and Col. Richard W. Dean II case their detachment’s colors during the 579th
Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) deployment ceremony. The team will deploy to
Led by the FEST-M commander, Col. Richard Dean, the Afghanistan in support of overseas contingency operations. (Photo by Alfred Dulaney,
detachment’s hybrid workforce will work together under field Mississippi Valley Division ACE-IT)

force engineering concepts to provide seamless general

engineering support to the Afghan country. The unique engineering team will also assist in the stabilization and
reconstruction of Afghanistan in order to promote the security of our nation and democracy he said.

“By engaging in these efforts, you seek to prevent those regions from becoming safe havens for those who would
threaten our homeland, our allies, and our national interests” Dean said as he addressed the FEST-M.

Dean admits that while certainly unique in scale and complexity, the mission in Afghanistan will also pose dangers
to his deployed detachment.

“Notwithstanding these risks, you, as soldier and civilian personnel working in these war zones are essential to the
success of the stabilization and reconstruction efforts and future stability of Afghanistan,” he said.

M. Javed Ahmed, FEST-M highway engineer, is ready for the deployment in light of the challenges ahead.

“I feel very excited and I think we’ll do a good over there,” he said. “We are professional, we are a good team, and
we have good leadership.

Ahmed deploys as a large part of the civilian workforce alongside the military to missions in Afghanistan. According
to Department of Defense statistics, hundreds of federal civilian employees have been deployed to this region to
support security, political, and economic development.

“It’s a process of building a nation and I’m a part of that,” Ahmed said.

The FEST-M anticipates making a positive influence towards rebuilding Afghanistan as it will provide vital contract
construction and technical engineering services.

“Every time we dig a well and every time we build a school, we’re making a big impact,” said Capt. Christopher


4155 Clay Street, Suite 120, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183-3435
Office: (601) 631-5987 | Cell: (540) 532-7735 | E-mail:
----- continued on page 2 -----

Page 2

Ericson, FEST-M assistant operations officer. “Lots of times this will be the first school
that they’ve really ever seen, and the first time that some of these kids have ever
gone to school and had a place where they can go and learn.”

Everything that will be done on the construction side ends up helping Afghanistan
said Ericson.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an ongoing mission, one unprecedented in
scope, to assist in rebuilding Afghanistan's infrastructures in support of overseas
contingency operations.

Barbara Hutchinson, center, wife of Capt. Willie The FEST-M is vital to the success of this mission as it
Hutchinson, left, meets with Brig. Gen. Michael
Walsh, commanding general of the Mississippi has the skills to meet USACE’s worldwide mission
Valley Division, during the 579th Engineer requirements during periods of national emergency,
Detachment (FEST-M) deployment ceremony.
Hutchinson will deploy to Afghanistan with his mobilization, war, military crisis, or any other
fellow FEST-M members. (Photo by Alfred contingencies.
Dulaney, Mississippi Valley Division ACE-IT)

According to the Army field manual of engineer operations, FESTs can rapidly deploy
to meet requirements for engineering assessments and analyses in support of the full
array of engineer functions. Stephanie Daniel, right, and Willie Daniel,
daughter and son, respectively, of Patricia
Daniel, second from left, meet with Command
“The FEST-M’s capability will prove itself to be indispensable on the battlefield,” Dean Sgt. Maj. Harry Collins, the 579th Engineer
Detachment (FEST-M) command sergeant
said. “In future operations, I foresee that the principal face of USACE to the operational major. Friends and family gathered to send best
Army will be composed of soldiers and civilians assigned to forward engineer support wishes to the detachment before it deployed to
Afghanistan. (Photo by Alfred Dulaney,
teams.” Mississippi Valley Division ACE-IT)


4155 Clay Street, Suite 120, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183-3435
Office: (601) 631-5987 | Cell: (540) 532-7735 | E-mail: