By 1st Lt. Brandon Fambro, 368th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M)September 7, 2014
DAEGU, Republic of Korea - The 368th Engineer Detachment (Forward Engineer Support Team-Main), based out of Decatur, Georgia, traveled here to participate in this year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian Exercise.
Col. Stephen Strand, commander, 368th Eng. Det., has participated twice in previous UFG training events, noting he "enjoys building relationships with other UFG participants and delivering real world products to planners."
He also pointed to the exercise as enjoyable and relevant to the mission of the 368th.
Command Sgt. Maj. Sabrina Watts, senior enlisted advisor for the 368th Eng. Det., said she's participated in UFG for three years and travels to Korea several times per year to plan for unit training. Her primary role is managing the unit's day to day operations.
"I enjoy networking with others participants of UFG, including members of Republic of Korea," said Watts.
The unit conducted collective training that offered opportunities for engineers to practice their engineer skills and to provide real world products to their customers, the Pacific Ocean Division, Far East District, U.S. Forces Korea, Engineer Research and Development Center, Eighth Army, and the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Subordinate teams of the 368th were sent to various locations on the peninsula to support mission requirements for Eighth Army and U.S. Forces Korea during UFG.
1st Lt. Brian Stevenson, Facilities/Contract Construction Management Engineer team leader, and his team assisted ERDC in testing a new system in Seoul. Stevenson, who currently works in the civilian sector as an auditor for AT&T, said "attending UFG gave him an opportunity to see another culture and interact with individuals from all over the world," and to interact with Active Component military members.
Capt. David Melendez and his team conducted facility and site assessments in Jinju City, Yeosu, and Sacheon. Melendez, a civil engineer in a civilian capacity for Naval Facility Engineer Command, has participated in UFG twice and enjoys "getting out in the community and enjoying the culture, and using his engineer skills in a practical manner."
Others, like Sgt. 1st Class Richmond McCloud, provided contractual support for a sustainment command during the two-week exercise. Although it was his first UFG, the experience nevertheless gave him a better understanding of how other components and services work effectively as a team to accomplish the same mission. McCloud said he looks forward to future opportunities to visit and train in Korea.