Seabees Battle Sandstorm - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/11/03

Seabees Battle Sandstorm

By Nathan Mihelich
Embedded Reporter

The desert environment is excruciating. It is very hot during the day and freezing cold at night. As the Seabees endured working in the harsh conditions, a sand storm came to camp.

"The soil out there is too fine, it's like a big dust bowl out there. Right now I'm just going to take care of the life support area. I was telling Lt. Silver it would be terrible to work all day and have your hooch blow away and not have something to live in," NMCB Officer-In-Charge Lt. Eric Breitenbach said.

"We are filling sandbags to weigh down tents in this massive sandstorm. They provide weight for the tents so the don't fly away. The wind is between 40 and 50 miles per hour and you can't see 40 feet in front of you. It's like a blanket of sand. You breathe a lot of sand, eat a lot of sand and your eyes get all clogged up," 27-year-old, Seabee Mike Williams of North Carolina said.

"Intel has the storm lasting through tomorrow night, and it's only been here for about three, four hours. If it does last for 30 hours, we're just going to have to tough it out and take the best defensive measures," Breitenbach said.

The storm was actually so bad, that it halted construction on the project. The wind appeared to be coming out of the South, so the Seabees moved some of the heavy equipment in to help shield the camp from the wind.

"I don't think anybody anticipated it being this bad. This is one of the worst times here, so hopefully it doesn't get any worse than this," 20-year-old Seabee Brett Wilburn of Gulfport said.

"I don't even know how to describe it. Windy, sandy as hell. Sand gets in every part of your body, your mouth, your eyes, your ears, it's just terrible," 23-year-old Seabee Dennis Hill of Tennessee said.

The storm ended up lasting about a day.

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