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Posted 4/2/2012

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By Karla Marhsall
Afghanistan Engineer District-South

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South turned over a small arms range and training facilities on Camp Hero to the Afghan National Army in a ceremony held Mar. 31.

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon and taking a walking tour of the facility, which includes pistol, rifle, and heavy machine gun ranges plus all the associated infrastructure, the ceremony's attendees sat down to refreshments of chai tea and pastries.

Construction on the $5.9 million small arms range began in March 2011 and was completed Mar. 15. Cesar Lopez, the Kandahar Vicinity Resident Office resident engineer, said the project progressed well and that the Afghan National Army will be able to train many soldiers at the facility.

"I am very pleased to accept this training range and classrooms from the Corps of Engineers," said Gen. Shah, the 205th Atal (Hero) Corps Chief of Staff through an interpreter. He thanked the South District Commander, Air Force Col. Benjamin Wham, Army Maj. Christine Cook, the area officer in charge and the staff of USACE.

"This facility will provide the soldiers ample training to improve their skills and bring security and peace to the Afghan people."

To the Americans present he said, "I would love to see all of you return to Afghanistan one day with your families as tourists and show this facility to your children."

"ECCI-C METAG Joint Venture, the contractor, was a pleasure to work with," said Lopez who is deployed from the USACE Philadelphia District. "Their performance on the project was excellent."