Listen 24/7 on your computer, smart phone or tablet anytime on www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingwithheroes1 to Mark C. Jones, P.E., PMP, F.E. Chief, Engineering & Construction Division Transatlantic Afghanistan Division. Mark joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District as Chief of Engineering, Construction and Technical Services in September 2008. He is currently deployed in Afghanistan on his second tour as a Chief of Engineering and Construction, the first tour being May 2010 to May 2011. He is a retired 22 year Naval Surface Warfare Officer! Please SHARE http://thankyouforyourservice.us/issue/october-2013/article/listen-live-to-mark-c-jones-p-e-pmp-f-e-chief-engineering-construction-division-transatlantic-afghanistan-division
Bob Calvert Founder of www.talkingwithheroes.com Talk Show Network and www.thankyouforyourservice.us Online News Site hosted a NEW Call In Program from Afghanistan
Alicia Embrey USACE Public Affairs introduces Mark C. Jones, P.E., PMP, F.E. Chief, Engineering & Construction Division Transatlantic Afghanistan Division
Listen 24/7 now to this program that aired Saturday October 5, 2013 on www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingwithheroes1
Direct Link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingwithheroes1/2013/10/05/listen-live-to-mark-c-jones-pe-pmp-fe-chiefengineer
Details at: http://thankyouforyourservice.us/issue/october-2013/article/listen-live-to-mark-c-jones-p-e-pmp-f-e-chief-engineering-construction-division-transatlantic-afghanistan-division
Thank You to the following for helping make this program possible:
Veteran Bill Wischnewsky – filming daily on Ft Benning for the Army and Airborne www.5jump.com
Listen and SHARE our Troops and Civilians Stories about Progress and Helping the Afghanistan People that is not being heard much back home here in America!!! We are Requesting YOUR HELP to get these Programs and the Information Shared out to Everybody Possible.
Listen to: Mark C. Jones (RET) 22 Year Naval Surface Warfare Officer, P.E., PMP, F.E. Chief, Engineering & Construction Division Transatlantic Afghanistan Division – http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil
Mark joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District as Chief of Engineering, Construction and Technical Services in September 2008. He is currently deployed in Afghanistan on his second tour as a Chief of Engineering and Construction, the first tour being May 2010 to May 2011. He is a retired 22 year Naval Surface Warfare Officer who after active service worked in private industry as Plant Engineer in a manufacturing plant and taught Mechanical Engineering Technology as an Assistant Professor.
Mark graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1980 with a BSE in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation he was commissioned through Officer Candidate School as an Ensign in the United States Navy. During a 22 year career, he deployed ten times to all seven seas and served on ships including Mine Sweeper’s, Frigates, Cruiser’s, and Aircraft Carriers as well as being a project manager during two complex overhauls. During his Naval career he earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School, a Masters of Business Administration from the Citadel and graduated from the Naval War College and Armed Forces Staff College.
After completion of active service, Mark was a Plant Engineer with TAMKO Building Products in Joplin, Missouri where he managed all engineering, maintenance and raw material operations for a seven line 24/7 roofing products plant. He also was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.
During his time with the Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh, Mark led a reorganization of the Engineering, Construction and Technical Services from a Technical Services Division increasing the capability of the organization by over 25%. This growth was essential to the success of the district in executing the second largest ARRA allocation in the Corps in 2009-2010. As the Dam Safety Officer he is overseeing the Dam Safety Modification Study for East Branch, and projects on Allegheny Six, Emsworth and Mon 4, all DSAC I or II projects. On a national level, he is integrated into the IWR Risk Management Center and was a key proponent of locating the Eastern Center in Pittsburgh. He was the team leader for the Pittsburgh District’s successful application for designation as Inland Navigation Design Center.
Mark is a member of the Society of Mechanical Engineer’s (ASME), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Naval Academy Sailing Squadron (NASS) and Bayview Yacht Club (BYC) in Detroit. He has earned the Defense Civilian Superior Service Medal and the Army Engineering Regiment Bronze De Fluery Award.
Married to LCDR Jennifer Reed Jones (Ret), they have two sons Christopher USMC stationed at Camp Lejuene and Calvin who is attending the University of Michigan. The family resides in the North Hills of Pittsburgh and are proud members of the STEELER NATION.
Mark will talk about Salang Tunnel
Corps of Engineers officials awarded a $12.8 million construction contract to Omran Holding Group, a construction firm based in Bagram, Afghanistan. The scope of work includes resurfacing, drainage, lighting, ventilation and more to refurbish the aged tunnel.
The 1.6-mile tunnel is vital to the country’s economy and transportation system, but the 48-year-old Soviet-built passageway under the snowy Salang Pass was badly deteriorated.
The road within the tunnel was a cratered jumble of powdery dust, mud and broken asphalt. Water seeps through the tunnel’s walls and pools on the road. The overhead lights are dim, leaving the passageway dark 24 hours a day.
Environmental conditions, overuse and reckless driving habits contribute to deaths and delays at the tunnel, which is the only supply route open year-round between the northern region of the country and Kabul, a city of about 4.5 million people
A rutted dirt road leading to the tunnel zigzags along precarious rocky cliffs, which are covered in snow six months a year. Carcasses of vehicles that had either driven off the road or had been pushed off by avalanches rust hundreds of feet below the road’s edge. The road features long concrete canopies called galleries that are designed to shield vehicles from tons of falling snow and rocks, however catastrophic avalanches and other disasters trap and kill motorists in the tunnel and along the road with haunting regularity.
Among the most deadly tragedies:
–,A series of avalanches in 2010 killed at least 64 people and perhaps 166 or more, according to various reports. Some of the victims died of asphyxiation or cold while trapped inside the tunnel. Others were buried in their vehicles.
–,An avalanche in 2002 killed at least five people, according to news accounts.
–,A tanker truck explosion during a Soviet military convoy in 1982 killed at least 172 people, and perhaps as many as 900 or even 3,000, according to wildly conflicting published accounts. The fiery explosion may have been triggered by a collision or a bomb, but the Soviets never publically confirmed the cause, nor the number of victims.
Haze created by dust and exhaust usually limits visibility to five feet. It’s so thick that motorists who drive through the tunnel keep their windows rolled up when they’re inside, and roll them down after they exit to release exhaust fumes that seeped into their vehicles anyway.
In addition, water is a problem. The tunnel bores underneath a lake and snow-capped peaks. Drains to channel the water within the tunnel are inoperable.
Aggressive drivers pose serious threats. Afghan authorities usually ban two-way traffic in the two-lane tunnel, because drivers who tried to pass one another drove into head-on collisions or maneuvered into front bumper-to-front bumper standoffs, blocking movement for hours.
Instead, authorities typically allow traffic in just one direction at a time, alternating in 12-hour shifts. Still, Afghan truck drivers sometimes try to pass each other inside the narrow tunnel, wedging their rigs against the curved ceiling and sloping walls.
To complicate matters, the tunnel’s width and height are inconsistent. It’s about 20 feet wide and 16 feet high at its tightest. The surface inside the tunnel is so uneven, trucks sometimes tip over.
Hundreds, even thousands, of trucks park alongside the dirt road for miles approaching both openings of the tunnel because of delays that can last for a week or longer. Drivers typically sleep in their trucks, not wanting to leave their rigs and lose their places in line.
The tunnel was designed for 1,000 vehicles a day, but 4,000 or more trucks, buses and cars use it every day, according to a study in June by the Afghan Ministry of Public Works.
Traffic increased significantly when Pakistan closed its border to Afghanistan for seven months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011. The closure halted passage of NATO supplies from Pakistan’s deep-water ports into landlocked Afghanistan.
Instead, coalition forces trucked in supplies through Afghanistan’s northern neighbors, such as Uzbekistan, and through the tunnel south to Kabul, Kandahar and other points. Pakistan reopened its border in early July, but by then, road had been beaten into further disrepair.
Despite the dangers and stoppages, the tunnel is essential to commerce in Afghanistan. It’s the lone tunnel through the steep Hindu Kush. Alternate routes are even more rugged, higher and more prone to attacks by insurgents.
The repairs are funded through the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which allows military commanders in Afghanistan to fund humanitarian and reconstruction projects that benefit the local population.
One of the most difficult aspects of the job was that U.S. engineers did not have access to the original plans drawn by Soviet engineers decades ago, he said. The original foundation has been buried under decades of resurfacing material.
Furthermore, inspecting the tunnel was difficult because of heavy traffic and because of security considerations for U.S. personnel in the area.
The current ventilation system is comprised of a series of overhead fans that are intended to blow exhaust fumes from one opening of the tunnel through its entire length and out through large ventilation shafts. But the fans are inoperable and carbon monoxide hangs in the air. Similarly, the current lights generate only a dim orange glow.
Part of the project will include a job-training program to teach Afghan workers how to maintain the tunnel, galleries and roads after the repairs are made.
At 11,150 feet above sea level, the Salang Tunnel is one of the highest tunnels in the world. It’s nearly 2,000 feet higher than Taos Ski Valley, which is 9,200 feet above sea level.
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