Pavement for the “Government Footprint”:

Airmen have been returning from their first rotations as leaders of six Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan, and one of them, Capt. Rockie Wilson, shared his experiences with reporters at the Pentagon yesterday. Wilson, who is Air Combat Command’s RED HORSE program manager at Langley AFB, Va., deployed to Afghanistan as the Qalat PRT leader overseeing construction projects from August through December 2006. Wilson supervised 50 soldiers and 40 airmen and worked with an Afghan provincial engineer and local contractors to build 70 miles of roads in Zabul, at the southeast corner of the country’s border with Pakistan. He said that the PRT mission was to spread the “government footprint” by creating the infrastructure network that would enable communications with small villages. When they arrived, only one main paved road existed in the province. Their big project was to get a road constructed from Qalat to Mizan, a district to the west. Though the Taliban did interfere with their progress at times, “We were always able to get where we needed to go,” he said.