Engineer students learn, redesign school's training site
June 18, 2014
Creating a new training site can be daunting, but Sgt. 1st Class Lance Widner and students enrolled in the Horizontal Engineering Specialty Reclassification Course at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., make the process seem easy.
"We are upgrading our training site to an all-year around facility to provide additional training opportunities to active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers," said Widner, course manager assigned to 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support).
The course lasts 26 days and splits into two phases. During the first phase, instructors familiarize students with basic Army engineering equipment, and the second phase introduces them to more advanced equipment like backhoes, dozers and graders.
Students move dirt, materials, and gravel to complete construction projects while they learn the equipment. Gravel is included because it's a key component for ensuring that the site has more of a real-world feel.
"The gravel adds to what the Soldiers will encounter when deployed," Widner said.
The new site is designed to replicate most of the terrain in the Mediterranean or the Middle East and it improves based on the students' final class project on Project Day.
"Project day is when students really get to learn the ins and outs of this equipment," he added. "We provide oversight, but the students are the ones doing everything."
Widner said the current class builds on progress made by previous students. The previous class leveled the land and moved the gravel to the site.
"Many of these students have never used this equipment before," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Bouvier, also a course instructor. "This is a good site because we have lots of room for them to operate the equipment and we get to create a bigger and better site for the next class."
"Great things are happening at this site," said Charles Wilhelm, an evaluator with the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
"This team is continually improving the training site and conduct of training that is in line with the current Army Learning Model methodologies," he added. "This training is providing Soldiers with a top-notch, world-class…location that all Soldiers can attend from the Active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve."