Specialists Miguel Aquino and Anthony Solaita, both former Regular Army 11B Infantry Soldiers taking the inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills reclassification course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California.  Aquino is a maintenance technician in his civilian capacity, and looks forward to using the news skills in both his civilian and military career. He chose the engineer field because he wanted to learn something new. “I’ve learned a lot from the knowledgeable instructors, and I’m having fun,” said Aquino. Solaita is a warehouse manager in his civilian capacity, and looks forward to his new MOS. Both Soldiers have been in the U.S. Army Reserve for a year.
1 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Specialists Miguel Aquino and Anthony Solaita, both former Regular Army 11B Infantry Soldiers taking the inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills reclassification course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California. Aquino is a maintenance technician in his civilian capacity, and looks forward to using the news skills in both his civilian and military career. He chose the engineer field because he wanted to learn something new. “I’ve learned a lot from the knowledgeable instructors, and I’m having fun,” said Aquino. Solaita is a warehouse manager in his civilian capacity, and looks forward to his new MOS. Both Soldiers have been in the U.S. Army Reserve for a year. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Knecht with the 12th Battalion, 104th Engineer Regiment, 1st Brigade, 102nd Engineer Training Division showing basic wiring concepts to students of the inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California. Students in this course range from having no construction or electrician experience to having some limited experience. “I think they’re catching on very well,” said Knecht. He is an electrician in his military and civilian careers, and has been in the U.S. Army Reserve for 13 years.
2 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Knecht with the 12th Battalion, 104th Engineer Regiment, 1st Brigade, 102nd Engineer Training Division showing basic wiring concepts to students of the inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California. Students in this course range from having no construction or electrician experience to having some limited experience. “I think they’re catching on very well,” said Knecht. He is an electrician in his military and civilian careers, and has been in the U.S. Army Reserve for 13 years. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California, August 2020. Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Knecht with the 1st Brigade, 102nd Training Division observing (L-R) Sgt. Coral Brown with the Rhode Island National Guard 861st Engineer Co. and Staff Sgt. Rosanna Lamarre with the New York National Guard 1156th Engineer Co. as they practice installing a power switch box.
3 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Inaugural 12R Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California, August 2020. Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Knecht with the 1st Brigade, 102nd Training Division observing (L-R) Sgt. Coral Brown with the Rhode Island National Guard 861st Engineer Co. and Staff Sgt. Rosanna Lamarre with the New York National Guard 1156th Engineer Co. as they practice installing a power switch box. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. Zachary Squires with the 486th Engineer Co. based in Monclova, Ohio; and Spc. Edgar Torres with the 333rd Engineer Detachment based in Sante Fe, New Mexico putting newly acquired wiring skills to work during the inaugural 12R10 Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California, August 15-29, 2020. Torres served six years in the Army as a supply sergeant, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve in March 2002. He is in the construction business in his civilian career and electrical skills will come in handy. Squires was a military police in the Army for five years, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2019. He is in the heating and cooling business in his civilian career, which often requires skills in electrical wiring. “I’m learning how to do things the right way, instead of in the field at my job so it’s cool,” said Squires.
4 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Zachary Squires with the 486th Engineer Co. based in Monclova, Ohio; and Spc. Edgar Torres with the 333rd Engineer Detachment based in Sante Fe, New Mexico putting newly acquired wiring skills to work during the inaugural 12R10 Interior Electrician military occupational skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California, August 15-29, 2020. Torres served six years in the Army as a supply sergeant, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve in March 2002. He is in the construction business in his civilian career and electrical skills will come in handy. Squires was a military police in the Army for five years, and joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2019. He is in the heating and cooling business in his civilian career, which often requires skills in electrical wiring. “I’m learning how to do things the right way, instead of in the field at my job so it’s cool,” said Squires. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Tresame Chong with the 322 Engineer Company, Sloan, Neveda. Chong has been with the Army Reserve for six years and is enjoying the skills she is learning. She was a 92M Mortuary Affairs Specialist prior to her skills reclassification.
5 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Tresame Chong with the 322 Engineer Company, Sloan, Neveda. Chong has been with the Army Reserve for six years and is enjoying the skills she is learning. She was a 92M Mortuary Affairs Specialist prior to her skills reclassification. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
First 12W Carpentry and Masonry Military Occupational Skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California. The course has eight students and are operating as “bubble” to reduce risks of contracting COVID-19. They are learning their new skills in a tent with base structures for them to work on. They are pictured learning how to build door and window frames. Learn more about the 12W MOS: https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/construction-engineering/carpentry-and-masonry-specialist.html
6 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – First 12W Carpentry and Masonry Military Occupational Skills course at Fort Hunter Liggett TASS Training Center, California. The course has eight students and are operating as “bubble” to reduce risks of contracting COVID-19. They are learning their new skills in a tent with base structures for them to work on. They are pictured learning how to build door and window frames. Learn more about the 12W MOS: https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/construction-engineering/carpentry-and-masonry-specialist.html (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. Nathan Johnson, 649th Regional Support Group, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Spc. Jordan Barnett, 947th Engineer Company, Montrose, Colorado, learning how to construct a rebar flat. Johnson is a 15H Aircraft Pneudraulics Repairer reclassifying as a 12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist. He chose this MOS to be with a unit closer to home. Barnett is a 12N Horizontal Construction Engineer to a 12W because his unit is switching from a horizontal to vertical engineer unit. They are enjoying the course and appreciate the instructors’ wealth of knowledge.
7 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Nathan Johnson, 649th Regional Support Group, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Spc. Jordan Barnett, 947th Engineer Company, Montrose, Colorado, learning how to construct a rebar flat. Johnson is a 15H Aircraft Pneudraulics Repairer reclassifying as a 12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist. He chose this MOS to be with a unit closer to home. Barnett is a 12N Horizontal Construction Engineer to a 12W because his unit is switching from a horizontal to vertical engineer unit. They are enjoying the course and appreciate the instructors’ wealth of knowledge. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL

The stars have lined up to make Fort Hunter Liggett an Engineer Center of Excellence. It helps that the 80th Training Command (TASS) and the 102nd Training Division’s commanding generals, as well as the post commander, are all engineer officers. FHL and the U.S. Army Reserve engineer program will make history by hosting several new engineer skills courses to expedite training for Soldiers.

“My vision is to host all the engineer skills training here, and do it with good, modern facilities,” said FHL commander Col. Charles Bell.

“COVID-19 helped cut out some red tape to speed up the process and we’ve pushed ahead pretty far,” said Maj. Joshua McClure, the 1st Brigade (Engineer), 102nd Training Division, Army Reserve engineer career manager. He says an overwhelming percent of the Army’s engineers are in the Reserve, so he and his sister brigades are busy all year round.

Three new vertical engineer military occupational skills (MOS) courses moving to FHL are: 12W Carpentry and Masonry, 12K Plumbers and 12R Electricians, as well as the 12H Senior Leader (SLC) and Advanced Leader (ALC) courses for the 12N Horizontal Construction MOS. The 80th TC TASS Training Center at FHL (TTC FHL) currently hosts 12N reclassification courses. The new 12H and 12N courses are designed as advanced courses for existing engineers.

The 12B Combat Engineer and 12C Bridge Crewmember courses are also coming to FHL but will require more time to prepare. FHL is working with McClure to develop a mine clearing/detection lane which is part of the 12B course, something even Fort Leonard Wood doesn’t have. McClure says there are no 12C training on the West Coast, so the new training course at FHL will be a great bonus for the Army and engineer school.

FHL has been working with the 102nd Training Division and FHL TTC for more than a year to prepare for the 12B and 12C. “What we’re doing is building the platform for the Engineer Center of Excellence concept. For the 12B course, which will start in October, we’re building breaching and obstacles lanes,” said Bell. “For the 12C course, we need to prepare the training sites to allow access to Coleman Reservoir.” This requires FHL to conduct environmental studies, build abutments, grade and improve surface areas, to name a few projects. There might be troop projects where Army engineers’ real-world mission is to support the garrison.

McClure is excited about the training coming to FHL for many reasons. Army Reserve engineer training is currently conducted at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Dix, New Jersey; and FHL.

“COVID-19 added many new restrictions at the other installations, and it’s very difficult to meet the quarantine rules that active-duty military installations have,” said McClure. “FHL is isolated so there’s less [COVID-19] exposure whereas the other installations have thousands of troops coming and going at any given day.”

McClure says Reserve units are always competing for resources at the other installations. At FHL, he is getting the five-star treatment since FHL is an Army Reserve installation. Also, the other installations are not conducive to engineer operations during the wet and winter months, and FHL can support year-round training. The additional courses at FHL will help alleviate the heavy training load at other installations, and provide more opportunities for Soldiers.

The 12W and 12N SLC are four-week long courses and began at FHL in late July, running through August. They operate in the “bubble” training concept to isolate the instructors and students from the rest of the installation.

“I enjoy working with my hands and am enjoying this,” said Spc. Brody Lunsford, who was part of the inaugural 12W course at FHL. “Carpentry is a useful trade that I can use for work and for home projects.” Lunsford is with the 779th Engineer Company, Parkersburg, West Virginia, and has been in the Army Reserve for one year.

Sgt. Zachary Squires with the 486th Engineer Co. based in Monclova, Ohio, attended the inaugural 12R course at FHL and had this to say about his experience, “I’m learning how to do things the right way, instead of in the field at my job so it’s cool.” He is in the heating and cooling business in his civilian career, which often requires skills in electrical wiring.

TTC FHL hosts multiple military occupational skills (MOS) courses for engineers, military police, PSYOP, and transportation. A typical course-load is four courses at any given time, so the additional engineer courses will increase the transient and permanent-party footprint.

“We’ve already seen a 150 percent increase in training compared to this time last year. In July alone, we had 180 Soldiers train at our facilities, which is unheard of,” said Maj. Jose Yrigollen, TTC FHL Officer in Charge. “We have the resources and the right people in place to take on the extra courses.” The TTC has a Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration (RSOI) team, also known as ‘COVID Cops,’ that ensure safety protocols are in place and adhered to.

Yrigollen says they had a three-prong approach to restart operations with Soldiers coming from across the country to train at FHL with the new COVID considerations: Developing a solid mitigation policy with garrison leadership; screening Soldiers upon arrival at airport, upon arrival on post, and during stay; and providing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for all courses.

“We have the capacity for more training, and favorable climate to host training year-round,” said Bell. “We’re ready to make it happen for the Army Reserve and the U.S. Army Engineer Corps.”

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