Shuffling the deck; new organization builds engineer flexibility
March 29, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas- As the Army continues to change and evolve, Black Jack engineers are on the forefront.
For the engineers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, March 12 was a day of mixed emotions, as two existing engineers units furled their guidons for the last time and merged together to form the new engineer backbone for 2nd BCT.
The new engineer company, C Company, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, was formed from the merger of two engineer companies from separate battalions.
Lt. Col. Edward Repetski, the commander of 2nd STB, himself a career engineer, was present to welcome the new engineers, and to console the units who lost the engineer components they had grown so accustomed to over the last year in Iraq.
"That part of change provides an inevitable sense of loss-a hole in the family and the disappearance of a trusted portion of the team," he said. "We all know it, and it is important to pause a moment to reflect on those changes to our formations."
According to Repetski, the benefit of combining the two companies is in centralizing this critical, low-density asset to allow the brigade commander to more easily prioritize and focus engineer efforts.
"We appreciate the trust given in the 2nd STB in sending your treasured [engineer Soldiers] down the road to us."
Repetski firmly believed this new infusion of Soldiers will be nothing but positive for his unit.
Despite the relative youth of even the STB concept, Repetski had served in an STB before commanding one. An STB commander could be commanded by engineers, signal, military intelligence or other low-density basic branch officers. Repetski says any officer with diverse experience and time in maneuver brigades can do this job.
"The fresh newness of standing up "Charlie" Company is great for the company and the battalion," he said. The creation of the new unit is an opportunity to develop good habits early.
Even the company's nickname, "Derecho," named for a destructive wind, is new.
"They must build a new unit," said Repetski. "You will have many firsts over the next year; seize the moments to do those things right the first time, building important muscle memory in the fiber of this new outfit as you go."
"Being an engineer is a mindset, a way of life, an ethos, just like so many of our wonderful pantheons of branches have unique characters," he said.
In closing, Repetski captured what it means to be an engineer by reciting a poem by Rudyard Kipling in The Sons of Martha.
"Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat - Lo, it is black already with blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!"
"My fellow Sons of Martha, welcome to this formation," he said. "You will continue to serve 'Black Jack' well."