FORT CARSON, Colo.- Massive holes in the ground appeared and disappeared in the matter of hours as engineers operated bulldozers, graders and excavators to construct fighting positions and a bridge deployment, Feb. 4-5."Over the past two days our engineer support platoon has been digging positions for both vehicles and crew serve weapons," said Capt. Andrew Marucci, commander, Company B, 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "We support the other battalions and our work increases survivability in all of the formations across the brigade."This was the seventh training exercise for the engineers, who have been adjusting their standard operating procedures since brigade's transition from a mechanized unit to a Stryker brigade in March 17, 2014."We had all the dig rates and depths for tank fighting positions but now we have to change it up for the Strykers," said Staff Sgt. Steven Lachapelle, squad leader, Company B, 299th BEB, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "These fighting positions for the Strykers are extremely crucial for getting the upper hand on the enemy."Lachapelle, a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said they've learned to build the defensible positions to perfect specifications through trial and error."When we're emplacing the Stryker in the hull and turret defilades, we're ensuring that the width and depth are correct and that all of the systems operate," said Marucci.Defilades are dug into the ground to provide cover for vehicles in an open area.
First Lt. Michael Nouailletas, platoon leader, Company B, 299th BEB, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., said that all of the noncommissioned officers are seasoned and their experience helped guide the operators build to the new specifications."It's great seeing what the operators have been able to do and how fast they've been able to dig these holes," said Nouailletas. "These Soldiers make my job easy. I just have to supervise and coordinate with the company and range control."