FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 15, 2015) -- Soldiers, assigned to Company A, 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, or BSTB, from Lockport, New York, are hard at work supporting the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team's tactical training during annual training here.The brigade is conducting what the Army calls Exportable Combat Training Capability, or XCTC, which replicates the training conducted at one of the major training centers - and a command post warfighter exercise during its annual training, which started July 8, and will continue until the end of July.
The company, which provides combat engineer support has been tasked with a variety of different missions. A key one of requires using its bulldozers and excavators to constructing defensive positions.Along with combat engineer assets, the 27th BSTB provides the signal and intelligence Soldiers, who support the maneuver battalions of the 27th brigade."We have our equipment section that goes out and digs fighting positions and the base defenses for the brigade all the different battalions," said 1st Lt. Tucker Brown, a Saratoga Springs, New York-resident, who serves as the company operations officer. "We also have our two combat platoons that will be supporting the infantry during their maneuvers."Digging fighting positions is no small task, which is why the engineers and their equipment is so important."We use a high mobility engineer excavator [HMEE] to dig the fighting positions," said Spc. Jeffrey Gatti, a heavy equipment operator.The HMEE, resembling a civilian backhoe, is an armored piece of equipment capable of both digging and towing heavy loads. "We can use the front bucket to build up berms around the fighting positions for extra security," said Gatti, a resident of Tonawanda, New York. "We can also use the backhoe to dig the actual fighting position itself."The company will support each of the brigade's battalions as they conduct training.Aside from digging holes and using their equipment, the Soldiers are using this training to sharpen their skills."We get to practice doing our engineer specific tasks; creating obstacles, mitigating obstacles and route reconnaissance," Gatti said.Nearly 4,000 Soldiers, from the New York Army National Guard, will continue to conduct their month-long training. The majority of the Soldiers come from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, whose main headquarters is out of Syracuse, New York.This annual training period is being used to provide each unit within the brigade an experience similar to a combat training center, and will better prepare them for their upcoming rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, scheduled for 2016.