MARJAH, Afghanistan --
When Marines broke ground here in northern Marjah, the camp was little more than a barren desert. Aside from tiny farming compounds scattered throughout the area, the Marines were isolated. They lived out of their rucksacks and slept under the stars.
Nearly one year later, Camp Hanson has transformed into a core military hub with the capabilities of supporting thousands of troops in the area.
Most recently, the construction of Logcamp began. Once complete, Logcamp will consist of 36 state-of-the art all-weather tents, fully functional bathrooms and showers, and a brand new internet and recreation center.
“It gives the Marines more room to live in, a wall locker, an actual bed and mattress, chairs and a few other things that will go in later,” said Capt. Andrew E. Szwejbka, the Camp Hanson camp commandant, with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. “There’s going to be a lot more living space and a lot more room for the Marines to properly store their gear. There’s no doubt that it’ll increase morale.”
As new living quarters go up here, Szwejbka sends freed up assets, like tents and generators, to various outposts.
“[Logcamp] didn’t just improve living conditions at Hanson, it ultimately improved living conditions at every position in the area of operation,” he said.
The new living quarters will also accommodate civilian employees. Cpl. Noah D. Hagerman, an administrative specialist with 2/9, said they will help tremendously with the work load. Having them here will allow Marines to focus on their jobs and combat operations. Jobs that used to take up Marines’ time and pull them from their military specialties will now be tasked to civilians, he said.
“The [main] justification for receiving any Logcamp is that it cuts down on troop labor,” said Szwejbka. “The purpose is to come in, set up nice living facilities and bring in the proper civilian personnel to work on the camp. That frees up combat power for other things in the battle space.”
Szwejbka said he’s surprised at how quickly the project has moved along. When he started filling out the paperwork for Logcamp, the contractors’ projected date of completion was well after the end of his deployment. He explained that Logcamp wasn’t specifically for 2/9, but any unit that would be here in the future. Now, one month ahead of schedule, Szwejbka said he couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.
“The whole time I was doing all of the paperwork, I thought there was a very good chance that I wouldn’t see it at all,” laughed Szwejbka. “I’m just happy that it’s getting done and that [Marines] will be able to benefit from it in the future.”
Logcamp is the most recent quality of life project that 2/9 has begun. Since arriving here, the battalion has renovated Camp Hanson’s detainee facility, civil affairs center, gym, dining facility, motor transportation lot, armory, IED lane, guard posts, and covered the base grounds with gravel.
“I would say I am personally happy with everything that has been accomplished here,” said Szwejbka. “Once everything is all said and done, I would bet that anyone who was here a year ago would have a hard time recognizing this camp if they were to come back.”