Engineers build roads, buildings, skills
July 11, 2014
FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Operation Essayons 2014 came together June 14 - 28 through months of planning that involved installation, engineer units, and the Army Installation Management Command support.
Though the engineer motto is "Let us try,' during this training mission there is no trying, just doing.
Operation Essayons 2014 came together June 14 - 28 through months of planning that involved installation, engineer units, and the Army Installation Management Command support.
The mission has a couple of goals with the first enabling engineers getting real-time, challenging and quality training and an end goal is for improved Soldier deployment readiness at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
"There are about 800 Soldiers here from seven units providing support," said Cpt. Lawrence Lee, civil engineer with the 411th Engineer Brigade.
"Projects are created a year out through a combination of sources at Fort McCoy through the Department of Public Works and the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security."
"Operation Essayons saves the Army money, has troops training and doing their military occupational skills, and provides installations product renovations with a tangible value," Lee added.
These offices have the responsibility to serve Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Families, and Department of the Army civilians with an array of services and programs to support joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multi-national training requirements throughout the Army Force Generation cycle.
The missions involved a shower facility, road paving, electricity rewiring of a ski lift, building extension, convoy trail upgrade, and range walkways.
"One mission involved replacing the tent showers for male and females to be in one building that would accommodate about 40 users at Forward Operating Base Liberty at Fort McCoy," said Staff Sgt. John Severson, noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 327th Engineer Company, 397th Engineer Battalion, 372nd Engineer Brigade, 416th Theater Engineer Command, based in Onalaska, Wisconsin. "This facility replaces an old tented shower that has outlived it's life-span. This will allow for updated facilities for Soldiers' training here."
"This training is assessment of our jobs. We face training challenges and this allows us to get there," said Spc. Carmen Peterson, an interior electrician with the 327th Engineer Company.
Another project aimed to enhance training is road paving in a simulated village located on the south post area of Fort McCoy.
"This is our 3rd day paving about 6,825 feet or about one and a quarter mile of road. We used nearly 14 tons of asphalt, " said Sgt. Kevin Elder, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the 727th Engineer Detachment, 479th Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command, based in Penn Yan, New York.
The 727th has travelled the country providing their expertise in asphalt and road paving. Last year they supported Fort Hunter Ligget, California, building and repairing roads, paving a bus stop, and other projects, according to Spc. Troy Rasmussen, concrete and asphalt equipment operator, 727th Engineer Detachment.
"It is our mission to pave this road leading to the village that is to be used for convoy training," said Spc. Johnathan Gause, concrete and asphalt equipment operator, 727th Engineer Detachment. "This exercise gives us practical experience and hands-on training. It's a great opportunity."
Staff Sgt. Tim Yahnke, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the concrete masonry unit building a building at the same village said, "We've laid seven layers of bricks on an existing structure, the added triangle roof supports and finally we're add the roof and shingles. This structure has taken about five days to complete."
"Next year we will be going to El Salvador for annual training and this is great experience for these Soldiers doing their job constructing buildings," Yahnke added.
Another project involved replacing the electrical wires for the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area. This project involves updating the electrical wire and runs for a 60-year-old plus ski lift with 30-year-old wires.
"We've had to dig a trench up the hill two-and-a-half feet deep for 1300 feet," said Sgt. Patrick Alder, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, 327th Engineer Company. "All the wires for the lights and rollers need replacement. This system has experienced electrical shorts due the minimum 6 feet of snow cover required for the ground."
These projects are just a few of the items Fort McCoy requested on a list of items that are approved as part of the Army Forces Generation cycle through the United States Army Reserve Command that affords units the ability to train and meet the individual, crew, squad, and team levels.
"Planning conferences discuss projects that are designed to give engineers training in their military occupational specialties," said Larry Morrow, troop project coordinator for the Directorate of Public Works at Fort McCoy. "This gives more diversity in training."
He adds, this benefits Fort McCoy by giving a good training environment for the nearly 128,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen that will train at Fort McCoy this year.
"Future projects are in development connecting the planning design and materials of ammunition storage, range support and post infrastructure improvement," said Lee. "The technical expertise lies within the engineers to accomplish these tasks."