Mighty 97th Lieutenant settles dispute downrange

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
A lieutenant from the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron went beyond his normal duties downrange when he helped settle a dispute between the Afghan Border Patrol and a contractor.

1st Lt. Joshua J. Carroll, a civil engineer with the 577th Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron, went to Contingency Outpost Chergotah, Afghanistan, to check on a Regional Contracting Command contract, but ended up also serving as a mediator.

During his visit to COP Chergotah, he was asked to look at structures being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the ABP side of the outpost. While he was there, a contractor working for USACE came to the American gate and was complaining about the ABP, accusing the border patrol of extortion because they were charging him every time he or his men entered or exited the base.

"The USACE platoon leader and I asked the ABP commander to come have a consultation with the contractor to discuss the issue," Lieutenant Carroll said. "As it turned out, the ABP was trying to extort the contractor. But it was because the security the contractor had hired was stealing bread from the ABP."

With the help of an interpreter, a short contract was drawn up, which stated the ABP would not charge the contractor or his men when they entered or exited the COP, the contractor would do certain things to help out the ABP - including let them live in the buildings close to completion - and if the contractor's hired security caused any more problems, then the ABP commander could kick them off the base, Lieutenant Carroll said.

"They all signed the agreement, and as of now, there haven't been any more problems between the ABP and the contractor's security," Lieutenant Carroll said.
Lieutenant Carroll has been deployed to Salerno, Afghanistan since early July.

"Over the course of my time here I have come to understand that among Afghans, they hold very little trust for each other, especially between those who come from different tribes or provinces," Lieutenant Carroll said. "What is said one day is null and void the next day."

The ABP commander and the Afghan contractor were getting nowhere in talking things out, agreeing to work out their differences one minute and going at each other's throats the next, Lieutenant Carroll added.

"The concept of a contract that shows one group can do something for another group with certain benefits to be gained in return seems to be working in the construction field," Lieutenant Carroll said. "So I thought, why not apply this concept to working out the dispute between the contractor and ABP?"

The Lieutenant hopes the next time an issue arises between these two parties, they'll work out their differences or sign another contract on their own without needing the involvement of a mediator. This is the key to counter-insurgency operations, teaching the Afghans to work together to create a country where tyranny cannot live, Lieutenant Carroll said.

"It is especially gratifying to know that one of our Mighty 97th Airmen Warriors is making it better and making a difference in the lives of others," said Lt. Col. Yvonne S. Spencer, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "While the news of Lieutenant Carroll's motivation and ingenuity may not make national headlines - it should make the front page of our daily lives and serve to solidify your faith and confidence in our American Airmen."

Lieutenant Carroll's normal duties consist of training and teaching local construction contractors better construction methods and ways to work with their customers.

"I'm experiencing the deployment that I always imagined would be the ideal civil engineer deployment. It has been an once-in-a-lifetime, whirlwind experience," Lieutenant Carroll said. "I'm using my skill-set as a trained civil engineer, managing construction projects and even designing some facilities to meet the requirements of the troop surge, while also gaining invaluable leadership opportunities with junior enlisted, up to senior NCO servicemembers."