The Army's V Corps Tactical Operation Center remains in the rear, but the smaller TAC shadows the battle. It also has a little brother, called the Hot TAC, which fits into a few trucks and can be up and operating in 30 minutes. Whenever the TAC jumps, the Hot TAC is the last to shut down and the first to be reassembled forward.

Engineers who built Bushmaster, a logistical staging area south of An Najef (ENR 4/7 p. 13), jumped forward over the weekend of April 5 to establish a new TAC at a captured Iraqi military facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. The convoy drove the distance in two days, bedding down overnight at a captured missile assembly plant.

At their destination, dozer operators drove D7s right off their transports, without waiting for ramps, and immediately scraped a level site (below). Soldiers set one of the main tents (left) while others started to put the Hot TAC together (top, left). E4 Joseph Eliasen of Camden, N.J., and Sgt. Nazim Ray, Augusta, Ga., both of the 94th Engineer Battalion, hot-wired a water pump to re-establish services (top). Many soldiers have not had a genuine shower for weeks, and their efforts are enthusiastically supported.

(Photos by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

s the U.S. army's third infantry Division moved toward Baghdad, combat engineers "jumped" ahead to install a sophisticated communications facility from which officers control and coordinate the battle. As the facility is built, engineers build security barriers in addition to water and electricity infrastructure and shelter.