By NaSwana MoonAugust 7, 2017
CINCU, Romania -- Spc. Kimberly Hurtado is a South Carolina Army National Guard Soldier with the 1223rd Engineer Company, 122nd Engineer Battalion located in Columbia, SC. She currently serves at the Joint National Training Center, Cincu, Romania in support of Resolute Castle 17, an operation which builds infrastructure and relationships within eastern European NATO countries.
Hurtado grew up listening to a retired Marine uncle tell his war stories. "It interested me so much that I started to think about joining." When he passed away, said Hurtado, "it solidified my decision to join." Upon deciding to serve, she enlisted in the Army, and her older brother enlisted in the Marines.
She began her military career receiving training as a plumber in Advanced Individual Training which follows basic training. Though her military occupation is a plumber, she's been learning other skills as well. At Resolute Castle 17, she has been building a berm that will protect moving targets from live tank rounds.
In order to support the construction of moving armored targets, at which tanks will fire for training purposes, she fills Gabion baskets that will support a protective berm. The baskets will later be covered with dirt, creating the berm, and receive the impact of the tank shells. Filling the Gabion baskets requires her to build the metal cages with spring coils, fill them with rocks, level the rocks out, and stack them.
"Just keep swimming" is one of Hurtado's favorite quotes that she applies to her civilian and military life. She related that as a soldier and a civilian there are times she has to do a job or complete a task that she doesn't want to but she just keeps going.
She applies this philosophy to staying busy at home. Aside from her military career, Hurtado works as a cook at a seafood restaurant, and she currently studies Science and Math at the Technical College of the Low Country. Hurtado's dream is to become an engineer: "chemical or mechanical. What I have in mind is something like an oil refinery, working the machines," she explained.
She is ready to face the challenges in a field where women make up only 11% of the population. "It doesn't matter to me," she says.
Resolute Castle particularly focuses on engineer skillsets, deploying active Navy, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard engineer units to work alongside the Romanian 10th Engineer Brigade and the U.K. Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers on training infrastructure at the Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania. Additionally, Resolute Castle has overseen engineering operations in Poland conducted by the 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade.
The mission supports Operation Atlantic Resolve through developing training infrastructure in eastern Europe, creating interoperability among NATO forces, and enhancing stability and resolve among Allied nations.