GAROUA, Cameroon – Members of Task Force Darby completed a road repair project Jan. 25 by using a method called Do-Nou.
TF Darby service members are serving, at Contingency Location Garoua, Cameroon in a support role for the Cameroon military’s fight against the violent extremist organization Boko Haram.
Because of the rainy season, TF Darby has dealt with huge holes and washed sections in the roads, which lead up to the base.
“The purpose of the project was to provide mobility to U.S. resupply vehicles in the rainy season, encourage Cameroon Air Force personnel to utilize the technique on other portions of the CAF base and to demonstrate the technique to community leaders,” said 1st Lt. Sean Donahue TF Darby engineer from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and native of Helena, Montana.
According to Donahue, he researched various solutions and decided on the Do-Nou process.
“The Do-Nou is a labor intensive method that uses geo-textile materials (sand bags) and hand tools to create a solid sub-base for highly un-trafficable portions of dirt roads,” Donahue said.
Donahue believes this method, derived from the Japanese, will prevent washed out roads. “This technique was pioneered by Japanese engineers and has been introduced into 16 different countries as of 2013,” said Donahue. “Do-Nou is effective on roads that have 250 or less daily vehicle passes, such as local roads in rural communities or the resupply roads utilized by Contingency Location Garoua.”
Leaders from nearby villages came to witness construction to assess whether or not to adopt Do-Nou themselves.
“Local leaders were invited to see a live demonstration of the method and to ask questions about the method so that they could potentially bring the ideas they learned back to their own communities. The demonstration provided them an opportunity to ask questions and see the methods and techniques used first hand,” Donahue said.
Another reason Donahue says he chose the Do-Nou technique was to make road repair as feasible as possible.
“This method was chosen due to conditions that face rural villagers in any location that has a rainy season. The road becomes impassable with a high volume of rain. However, there is no heavy machinery available to perform road repair or construction. This method was chosen due to a lack of resources available to CL Garoua and restrictions about where our contractors can operate,” said Donahue.
Training for both TF Darby service members and the Cameroonian airmen was conducted before the actual project.
“A total of 24 U.S. military members and 15 Cameroonian Air Force participated in the Do-Nou road project,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Betancourt, noncommissioned officer in charge of the project from 1-87 and native of Maunabo, Puerto Rico.
“In December, TF Darby Engineer, 1st Lt. Donahue, the project officer in charge, conducted training of each stage of the Do-Nou project for U.S. Forces,” said Betancourt.
“On 18 January, U.S. forces trained approximately 15 Cameroonian Air Force leaders,” said Betancourt.
The all-volunteer U.S. force had different reasons why they agreed to participate.
“I wanted to do something that would help strengthen the U.S. relationship with Cameroon,” said 1st Lt. Carson Hoshall, TF Darby’s executive officer and native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“This was just another small way to do that,” Hoshall said.
“Another reason was that I truly believe in the potential of this construction method. It has a lot of potential to vastly improve the transportation system here in Garoua. Finally, I wanted the hands on experience of actually doing the construction to see how it was done,” said Hoshall.