Engineer Soldiers make training grounds safer
May 29, 2014
Story by 1st Lt. Marc Orozc and 1st Lt. Carlie Turnidge, 561st Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theatre Sustainment Command
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii - After completing a 60-day construction mission and multiple training exercises at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, April 1 through June 1, the Soldiers of the 561st Engineer Company (Horizontal), 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, returned to Oahu.
Due to the heavy rainfalls and runoff from the Mauna Kea volcano, there were much needed drainage improvements on the main support routes surrounding the area. The massive amounts of water flowing down the mountain washed out certain portions of the roads and made it difficult for traffic to travel safely.
The unit's construction mission consisted of improving the water runoff through the existing drainage sites, and providing a stable means of travel for heavy maneuver teams along the Keeamuku MSR.
The mission provided an excellent opportunity for the Soldiers to achieve proficiency on a multitude of construction equipment, as well as a cross-training opportunity working with the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Bn.'s vertical assets for the construction of concrete formwork and concrete emplacement.
"This was the first time I've worked with concrete," said Sgt. Luis Holland, project crew leader, 2nd Platoon, 561st Eng. Company. "Being a [horizontal construction engineer], it was a great opportunity to receive vertical construction experience, skills, and traits I can use throughout my engineering career."
The construction projects were a part of a variety of road repairs throughout PTA assigned and funded by the Directorate of Public Works for troop construction.
"We appreciate the continuous troop construction from the 84th Eng. Bn.," said Jim Bramblett, engineer technician with the Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison, Pohakuloa. "They are making a significant difference throughout our training areas, providing future military units the opportunity to achieve the most effective training possible."
After 30-days of construction, 561st Engineer Company transitioned into a 14-day Range Density training. The unit conducted day and night fire ranges, to include Reflexive Fire, and completed squad and platoon-level patrolling fundamentals, all of which led to their culminating event: a dismounted, platoon-sized live fire exercise.
"It was nice to get away from Garrison operations and be able to focus solely on our jobs as Engineers," said Sgt. David Jusino, a platoon sergeant. "PTA was a great opportunity to get the essential training that was needed to continue to be successful."
The 561st Eng. Company will continue heavy construction on Oahu this summer as well as provide a squad to support the 643rd Eng. Company in the construction of guard towers at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii.