Story and photo by Maj. Kevin Toner
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Officer, 4th Infantry Division
PUEBLO WEST, Colo. – Staff members from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, spent April 27-28 in Pueblo West learning from town leadership.
The group of 10 “Warhorse” Brigade officers and noncommissioned officers learned about community planning, community building, governance and essential services. These Soldiers will be responsible for governance and development issues when they deploy to Afghanistan this summer.
“As a neighbor of Fort Carson, we think it’s important to share our knowledge and experience to help the brigade prepare for its mission in Afghanistan,” said Michael French, chairman of the district board of directors.
The two-day seminar began with a community overview by Jack Johnston, district manager, and was followed by informational briefings and facility tours led by other town administrators.
Laurie Cozzetto, land use administrator, explained the types of city covenants in Pueblo West and provided techniques to overcome property disputes between neighbors or between residents and the city.
“The points raised by Laurie reinforced what I learned during our West Point Negotiations training in March,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Sain, Security Force Assistance Team member. “Understanding the rules and one’s interests is necessary to reach agreements where everyone wins.”
Brian Caserta, city fire chief, provided an overview of how to organize a department consisting of paid and volunteer firefighters. He also explained how to keep firefighters motivated, the minimum equipment necessary to be effective and planning factors to ensure enough water is available to fight fires.
As in Afghanistan, most of the roads in Pueblo West are unpaved. Mike Healy, district civil engineer, explained how to manage water runoff so heavy rains do not destroy the road networks. Jim McKaskell, streets and road director, taught the group how to construct and maintain unpaved roads.
“Learning the basics of road construction will prove valuable in Afghanistan,” said 2nd Lt. Jeffery Parrot, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment. “While we may not be building roads ourselves, we might find ourselves overseeing contractors. Knowing ‘what right looks like’ will help us help the Afghan government deliver essential services.”
Stephen Harrison, utilities director, taught the group about water extraction and collection, water treatment and sewage treatment.
“The operating scale of Pueblo West is probably larger than what we’ll see in Afghanistan, but understanding the principles is important,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Winton, brigade deputy commander. “The technology used in Pueblo West can be scaled-down and used in Afghanistan.”
The relationship between the brigade and Pueblo West began in October 2010 at the Fort Carson Open House when Johnston and Col. John Kolasheski, 2nd BCT commander, met and discussed the possibility of having brigade leaders learn from Pueblo West officials.
“Learning the process of effective governance has been very helpful. We also benefit from the relationships we’ve established so the brigade has access to subject matter experts if we encounter challenges during the deployment,” said Winton.
“I’m proud of Fort Carson and Pueblo West,” said Johnston. “It is our pleasure and civic responsibility to help Soldiers prepare for their mission. I look forward to continuing our relationship with Fort Carson and wish the 2nd Brigade a safe and productive deployment.”