Monday, January 14, 2013

Stars and Stripes: Idaho Biologists Saving Troops, Equipment in Afghanistan

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Bagram Air Base, southeast of Charikar, is one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.
  • Bagram Air Base, southeast of Charikar, is one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.

A Boise man—one of four Wildlife Services biologists from Idaho—is being heralded for his work, but he's nowhere near the Gem State's wilderness. Instead, he's in a war zone.

This morning's edition of Stars and Stripes reports that the challenge of George Graves, along with his fellow biologists, is to keep wildlife away from military airstrips, preventing costly collisions that jeopardize the lives of military personnel. His work is being credited for a $2.6 million reduction in damages at military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, there's a second benefit from the biologists' work: They're compiling a catalog of animal species in and near Afghanistan bases and have provided hundreds of specimens to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Stars and Stripes reports that a week after Graves arrived at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Force Base, two mortars exploded about 100 yards from his office.

"It's been a privilege and honor for me to have been given this opportunity," Graves told Stars and Stripes.

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