Reservists hone combat skills during annual training
July 16, 2013
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Local reservists practiced the art of their craft while wading ankle deep in concrete laying a new floor in one of Tobyhanna Army Depot's storage buildings during their annual Extended Combat Training (ECT).
Other members of the Army's 412th Engineer Company (Vertical) performed various tasks helping Public Works Directorate divisions complete a long list of projects. The company's training plan was designed to improve the unit's focus on individual training in several military occupational specialty (MOS) codes; however, the plumbers, carpenter/masons and electricians that converged on Tobyhanna did much more.
"The 412th helped us catch up on our work orders. Some of the repairs were due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy," said Gery Druckenmiller, Utilities and Grounds Division chief. "I found the Soldiers to be hard working and very respectful. It was great having them here."
Forty-three Soldiers replaced fire suppression sprinkler heads, poured 80 cubic yards of concrete flooring, installed lighting, repaired and replaced damaged or missing soffit and fascia, replaced the top layer of a block wall, and removed old, deteriorating concrete loading docks, then formed, poured and finished new concrete. Members of the unit also replaced missing or damaged roof shingles.
Partnerships like this benefit both the unit and the depot, according to Druckenmiller. The unit is able to meet their training requirements and Team Tobyhanna is able to cross several construction jobs off the docket. It was a straightforward arrangement; Tobyhanna supplied the material and the 412th supplied the labor, he added.
Many of the Soldiers remarked that this was quite a change from their civilian job. Here they are able to hone the skills they will use on the battlefield.
"We have a variety of Soldiers with lots of experience," said Staff Sgt. Tony Walters, platoon sergeant and training noncommissioned officer in charge (NCO). "This was an excellent opportunity to get people trained in their MOS code. Plus, Tobyhanna offers us the chance to train right in our own back yard."
Both organizations plan to extend the partnership to include Battle Assembly weekends and bringing sister companies from the battalion here to train on assets such as road graders, front end loaders, heavy trucks, bulldozers and scrapers.
"We're learning new things, adding to existing skills and reinforcing old skills," said Sgt. Jeffrey Grimes, carpenter/masonry specialist, who has served four years in the Reserves.
Interior Electrician Pvt. Cory Gibson said he likes experimenting to find the best solution to a particular problem.
"I like helping others learn new things and encouraging them to think outside the box," he said.
DPW personnel applaud the unit for getting so many projects completed within the 11-day training window.
"The new concrete floor will allow us to store supplies and equipment out of the weather," said Druckenmiller. "This has been a win-win experience for everyone."
Tobyhanna offers a unique environment for non-accredited sustainment training. Warfighters from all branches and components of the armed forces can receive individual hands-on training in several MOS disciplines.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.