610th Engineer Company builds PT pits
March 12, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. - If you've driven anywhere on Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently, you've probably noticed the many orange cones and orange-vested construction contractors working next to them. If not, you've certainly noticed the many road closures and corresponding detours due to construction. The construction projects, though they promise a smoother drive in the future, can be a source of many headaches.
If you've traveled along Stryker Avenue in the past week, on the other hand, you may not even have noticed soldiers working next to the airfield's perimeter fence.
Whereas much of the construction on JBLM requires roads to be closed, the Soldiers of the 14th Engineer Battalion's 610th Engineer Support Company have been diligently working next to an active, busy street since the project began.
"We built three PT pits for the 4-6 Attack Reconnaissance Squadron," said Sgt. Jose Toledo, the project leader with the 610th ESC.
The completed pits consist of three situp platforms, three pullup bars, and one set of dip bars. The 610th completed three pits in just over two weeks.
"The 864th Engineer Battalion is the construction unit on post, but they're deployed right now, so 4-6 came to us to see if we could build these pits for them," said 1st Lt. Eleese Nickelson, a platoon leader with the 610th ESC. "We jumped at the opportunity because as combat engineers, we do a lot of route clearance and not much construction."
"I think this mission is going to help me in the future," said Pfc. Weston Tramell, an equipment operator with the 610th. "When I first got to the unit, I went straight to deployment and I never got to practice my MOS since AIT [Advanced Individual Training]. When we got back and they said we'd start using the equipment and building things, I got excited. This is what I like to do."
"It's a great job for us because we're doing our real job as horizontal construction engineers. Last year when we were deployed to Afghanistan we did route clearance for the most part," Toledo said. "Now that we're here it's good to see Soldiers actually work their military occupational specialties to the fullest and see all the training they have pay off."
Construction projects are more than an opportunity for these engineers to practice their profession. They're also a cost-saving venture as our military winds down from two conflicts and begins tightening its belt.
"4-6 originally tried to contract out to get this project done, but it was costing them too much money so they came to us to see if we could help them out," Nickelson said.
"I think the Army would have to spend a lot of money just to get a contractor to come look at the site. The Army has a lot of construction occupational specialties and what we're doing is helping the Army save a lot of money," Toledo said. "Our primary job is to construct. We like to do it and I think the Army can save a lot of money if they use us more often. I hope to do more projects like this soon."