561st Engineers participate in NTC rotation
April 16, 2013
FORT IRWIN, Calif.-- The Soldiers of the 561st Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, recently returned from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
They increased their readiness and assisted the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division with their preparation for an upcoming deployment.
"Besides actually going to Iraq or Afghanistan, this is the closest the Soldiers can get to experiencing what it is like being downrange," said Sgt. 1st Class David Jusino, platoon sergeant, 561st Eng. Co.
Over a period of 15 days and nights, the "Warriors" of the 561st Eng. Co. conducted several training missions that culminated in the completion of nine tank defilades, the improvement of an unmanned aerial vehicle airstrip, and emplacing more than 1600 meters of tank ditch. The Soldiers clocked countless hours of operating time, increasing their confidence and skill.
The commander of the 2-1 requested that the first 800 meters of tank ditch be complete within 24 hours. The Soldiers worked in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit with wind gust up to 15 miles per hour. Regardless of the time or the weather the Soldiers were ready to perform.
"I didn't think I would actually enjoy coming to NTC, but I did," said Spc. Jay Nichols, a heavy equipment operator for the 561st Eng. Co. "I was brought to what I thought was my breaking point, and then I surpassed it."
The Soldiers were also able to do cross-training with the engineers of Charlie Company, 2-1 BSTB.
"I always love to operate as many different pieces of equipment as possible," said Spc Zachery Stiglitz, a heavy equipment operator with the 561st Eng. Co.
Stiglitz was one of the Soldiers from the company that operated the Armored Combat Earthmover from C Co., while their Soldiers operated the D7 bulldozers from the 561st Eng. Co.
Soldiers that considered themselves experienced on only one piece of engineer equipment were challenged to learn the rest of the equipment the platoon had.
"I've earned the title of heavy equipment operator, because I'm not just a dozer operator," said Pfc. Raymond Williams, newly titled heavy equipment operator with the 561st. "I know how to operate all the equipment in my platoon."
Jusino said, "We were sent to NTC to reveal our weaknesses and then fix them, get our Soldiers stick time, and take part in some of the best training the United States Army has to offer. We did just that and are better for it."