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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Building Strong ®

579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) Global Support

FEST-M shows true colors in Afghanistan

by Mark Abueg
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Oct. 30, 2010) – In front of
the Kandahar International Airport you will see many flags flying. One
of them is the Canadian flag. Another is the Afghan flag. And you’ll
also find the American flag.

But if you stopped by the Kandahar airport yesterday, you may have
noticed another flag. Not as dominating as the others. Not as colorful
as most. Not as recognizable as you can imagine.

There it was a subtle red flag. It physically flew beneath the rest, but
soared just as high in so many ways. It was the flag of an active duty
Army unit deployed to Afghanistan.

It was the colors of the 579th Engineer Detachment (Forward

Engineer Support Team - Main). Col. Richard Dean, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Harry
Collins, right, uncase the 579th Engineer Detachment
For the detachment’s Soldiers and Civilians standing behind it that (FEST-M) colors while Sgt. 1st Class Alfonso Gonzalez
day, it symbolized all that has been accomplished in its proud history holds the guidon in place during the uncasing ceremony
and what was on the horizon for the future of the proud unit. at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo by Mark

The FEST-M has been through many campaigns, including World War II and Vietnam. Now the recently reactivated
unit finds itself assisting the warfighter once again, but this time in Afghanistan.

“We’ve been conducting a variety of missions throughout the theater of operations, and now is the right time to
uncase our colors and establish the 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) in Afghanistan,” said Col. Richard W.
Dean, FEST-M commander, while addressing his detachment immediately after uncasing the colors.

During the ceremony, Dean and Command Sgt. Maj. Harry L. Collins, FEST-M command sergeant major, uncased
the detachment colors, symbolizing their continued readiness and operational capabilities in Afghanistan.

“We have officially moved into office space and are functional to provide engineering design services, contracting
expertise and quality assurance and quality control services supported by a robust, talented and special staff,” Dean

The detachment has been performing many projects throughout Afghanistan to help the Coalition forces provide a
successful transition to the people of Afghanistan.

“We are tasked to perform a variety of missions to support the tactical infrastructure in Regional Command (South)
as well as a designing a multitude of facilities for the Afghan government and Afghan National Security Forces,”
Dean continued.

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Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan
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Col. Richard W. Dean, left, commander of the 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M), addressess the Soldiers and Civilians of his detachment after
uncasing the colors in Afghanistan. (Photo by Mark Abueg)

As Dean’s detachment settles into its new surroundings, in the coming weeks RC(S) command and control will be
transferred over to the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which is based out of Fort Drum, N.Y.

The FEST-M will continue to support a variety of missions on KAF and for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction
Team added Dean.

“I look forward to your continued impact in the coming months and you can rest assured the FEST-M is establishing
its doctrine’s footprint here at Kandahar,” Dean said towards the end of his speech to his team.

The detachment colors were uncased for the first time since early April this year, when they were cased during a
deployment ceremony at Vicksburg, Miss.

“We’ve arrived to Kandahar and we’ve established our home office here,” Collins said. “We can feel proud now that
we can have a place to call our home.”

The detachment has been deployed to Afghanistan since May 2010, and is on a year-long deployment.


Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan