ABOLC Soldiers help clean up Pine Mountain Trail
Soldiers carry wooden beams that were used to build a 12-foot bridge May 11 on the Pine Mountain Trail in F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Ga.

FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 5, 2013) -- Fifty second lieutenants cleared trails, cleaned up campsites, a hatchery pond and helped build a 12-foot bridge May 11 on the Pine Mountain Trail in F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Ga.

In 2011, Pine Mountain Trail and F.D. Roosevelt State Park were hit by an EF2 tornado. The tornado damaged more than 4.55 miles of the trails.

The Soldiers from K Troop, 2nd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, worked quickly and efficiently, said Jim Hall, a board member of the Pine Mountain Trail.

"If we had had these 50 guys (before) there ain't no telling how quickly we would have had this stuff cleared," he said, referring to previous projects on the trail.

"They were very, very nice young men. It was just a great day (and) their work accounted for 338 hours in one day," Hall said.

The lieutenants are part of the Armor Basic Officer Leadership Course. The unit's brigade, 316th Cavalry Brigade, has a community partnership with Harris County, Capt. Joshua Hearn, troop commander, said. Each ABOLC class does a community service project.

Working with the Harris County community is important, Hearn said.

"A lot of people in this area know about Fort Benning (but) they don't really get to see the Soldiers," Hearn said. "So for us to get out there in the community and help spread a positive light -- any chance we get to do that is a good thing."

Every year, more than 50,000 hikers and 4,000 backpackers use the Pine Mountain Trail, Hall said. With the help of volunteers and visitors, the park is self-sustaining and does not use funds from the Department of Natural Resources on the hiking trails.

Hearn said the next class might do another Pine Mountain Trail cleanup in September.

For more information about Pine Mountain Trail or how to volunteer, visit www.pinemountaintrail.org.

Page last updated Thu June 6th, 2013 at 00:00