The problem was solved by bringing in heavy equipment, such as graders and scrapers, to level the ground and compact it before putting down the matting. Gorilla snot, or an environmentally-friendly glue that binds the sand together, was placed around the circumference of the pad to help keep the sand down when the helicopters take off.
"Not a War Against Iraq's People," Press International News Agency, March 20, 2003
The dusty condition of the runways can pose a threat to helicopters. Two American soldiers died in a helicopter accident in Pakistan in October due to just such a brownout, and dust led to an on-ground accident in the rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran more than 20 years ago.
The Seabees quickly set to work with rollers and a large earth-moving vehicle to ready the dusty runway for the many arriving planes and helicopters.
The mid-desert airstrip challenges pilots, especially those steering helicopters, which throw up a massive dust cloud every time they lift off or land. At night the static electricity from the rotor blades and dust glows like a halo around them.
The Seabees may be able to mitigate that somewhat with a product known colloquially as "gorilla snot," a liquid sprayed over the runway to glue the dust into a hard surface.
"Marines settle in at Afghan airfield," United Press International, November 29, 2001