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Military or civilian, it's all civil engineering in the end

Andrew Wood (NCE 31 July) will know that civil engineering has its roots in military engineering.

He concludes that because he reads an article about the construction of an army camp and chooses not to associate himself with military projects, that he has grounds for objection. He misses the point.

The article about Camp Bastion was an excellent feature about a building/engineering project managed and undertaken by soldiers and civilians alike. It is of interest and relevance to engineers who work in harsh, turbulent and unpredictable environments in faraway places.

The "military engineer" he refers to may have joined the Army straight from university with a degree in engineering. Through continual professional development and attachment to civilian engineering organisations, the Army will have endeavoured to ensure he or she gains chartered status. Between operational tours and postings, the military engineer will spend time at the armed forces' tri-service engineering consultancy or Infra Group, in Chilwell, Nottingham.

There, engineering skills will be brought to bear on projects ranging from the development and
maintenance of the Crown Estate to disaster relief efforts.

I know a little of what I am writing about because I contributed to the construction of Souter Camp in Afghanistan in 2002. Indeed, NCE's reporter visited the site at the time and an article was subsequently published. To return to Wood's aversion to military matters, I should remind him that the ICE director general was a military engineer – I knew him as Brigadier Foulkes!

 JOHN M STEPHENS, Ratcatchers Croft, Northrop, Flintshire, CH7 6AF

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