FOR the combat engineers of the Chilwell-based 170 Infrastructure Support Engineer Group, the end of their time in Iraq is heavy on the "engineer", lighter on the "combat".
One recent day, Lance Corporal Lee Wagner and Sapper Matt Brown were surveying land where a missile had hit a large fuel supply, causing polluting fuel to seep into the ground. Sapper Osbourne Gabriel was designing a new road.
Around the office, combat engineers like Lance Corporal Phil Church and Staff Sergeants Mark Lott and Michael Bebbington worked on or oversaw similar projects.
For Lance Cpl Martin Simpson, the only Territorial Army soldier among the group and a building service engineer in civilian life, the work came naturally.
"The projects I'm working on with these guys require the skills that I use weekly," he said of the work the 170 is doing while attached to the larger 35 Engineers Regiment.
It's the sort of work that makes combat engineers indispensable wherever they go.
"I've been at Chilwell for three years," Lance Cpl Daniel Griffiths said. "As soon as I got there, I went to Afghan. Then Kenya for three months, then back to Afghan, then to Gibraltar, then here."
And while it might not be the most glamorous-sounding side of Army life, it's a huge part of what needs doing as the British complete their mission in Basra and prepare to depart Iraq.
"Being in Iraq," he said, "is still easier than trying to teach some teenagers."
If you want to get under the skin of a British soldier in Iraq, suggest that as they leave, their mission remains incomplete. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Buttery, the 35 Engineers' commanding officer, offered a concise rebuke to that.
Months ago, he noted, Gordon Brown stated the British mission as threefold: help facilitate free elections in Iraq, give control of Basra Airport back to Iraqis, and help the Iraqi military reach a battle-ready state.
"It's not that we haven't finished," he said. "It's that they're coming down to do something entirely different."
Back home in Britain, debate in newspapers and on television may take the form of sweeping, vague ideas of what's happening. But when you're military, you look for specific results. And Lt Col Buttery likes the results he sees. He's walked in Basra - down the Corniche, along the riverfront - and he sees progress.
"If you were to go into Basra now," he said, "you would see an air of normality."