By Spc. Brianna RhodesJune 11, 2019
FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. - Choosing an engineering occupational specialty in the Oklahoma Army National Guard allows Soldiers to develop a diverse range of skills. Soldiers with the 3120th Engineer Support Company, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command, based in Muskogee, Oklahoma, are using these skills to complete many different tasks as part of their annual training at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, June 9.
"We enhance Soldiers' survivability, mobility around the battlefield, and we can demolish enemies with counter-mobility," 1st Lt. Micah Dawson explained. Dawson, a platoon leader for 3120th and a University of Oklahoma alumnus, works as a mechanical engineer in St. Louis when not in uniform.
As artillerymen with the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Field Artillery Brigade, prepare to fire M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the 3120th is leveling a patch of terrain to develop fighting positions suitable for HIMARS fire.
However, there has been heavy rainfall in the Midwest and across the nation over the last several weeks, so maneuvering the terrain has been the biggest challenge for the 3120th Soldiers, according to Dawson. Their adaptability is being tested as the mission continues.
Spc. Olivia Autrey, a horizontal engineer with the 3120th and native of Tulsa, said getting experience operating the vehicles has been vital to getting comfortable with their mission. They have been preparing for this training for a few months.
"We've been doing preventative maintenance checks on our vehicles, making sure everything is ready to go and operable," Autrey said.
This is just one of many missions being conducted as part of Western Strike, the operation name of annual training being held for Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers working at Fort Chaffee this month.
"Morale has been good," said Staff Sgt. Curtis Evans, a 3120th Soldier and native of Maud, Oklahoma. "We're all really excited to be here."