By Mr. Kevin B Jackson (IMCOM)November 24, 2010
CASEY GARRISON, South Korea - Engineers from the 2nd Infantry Division received heavy construction equipment familiarization training that will expand their capabilities and improve survivability on the battlefield for Second to None Division Soldiers.
The training was provided to 22 Company C, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion engineers, by U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud Directorate of Public Works Roads and Grounds Division employees at a dig site on Casey Garrison Nov. 15-18.
Second Infantry Division leaders asked the garrison to provide hands-on "familiarization" training with a backhoe/trackhoe, Bobcat, bulldozer and a front-end loader to increase its engineers' capabilities, thus improving survivability on the battlefield for division Soldiers.
Before the training began, the Soldiers learned basic field preventative maintenance and operator controls on each piece of heavy construction equipment from DPW employees Chi Tok-man and Ham Ung-sik.
During this phase, the Soldiers ranging from private to sergeant were broken into two groups for the instruction. One at a time, each engineer received a 20-minute block of training with Chi or Ham, who remained in the cab while each engineer was put through the paces of learning how to correctly use the equipment.
"It's nice we're not just sitting in a classroom," said Spc. Nicholas Eineichner, a combat engineer on his first tour of duty. "We're actually out here using the vehicles."
Sgt. Peter Kerr, Company C, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, who oversaw the training for his Soldiers said the training is valuable because only two of them had previous experience and only one - Pvt. Demoncee Storey - was certified to operate the heavy construction equipment.
"The training pretty much enhances our readiness for our heavy equipment operators," Kerr said. "Training on civilian equipment will make us more proficient when we have to do a certain tasking."
Soldiers received more in-depth experience with the equipment and watched Chi and Ham demonstrate how to construct combat fighting positions the third day. The final day they assisted their instructors with recovery and maintenance of the equipment.
"It's been a refresher for me," Storey said. "After (Advanced Individualized Training), I pretty much knew all the equipment. Coming here, being able to do it all again and train on it is helping me remember so I don't lose my skills."
Robert Smith, supervisory engineer for the USAG Casey Roads and Grounds Division, who oversaw safety and training at the dig site, praised the division engineers for their positive attitude and said having them trained may also benefit the installation during emergencies.
"To have them coordinated and experienced on the equipment will give us an auxiliary option if we have a big storm," he said.
Smith said Casey Garrison has sustained damage from flooding, high winds and monsoons in 2010 and past years, and that having Soldiers trained could help the garrison return the installation back to operational readiness much quicker.
Additional heavy construction equipment familiarization training will be provided quarterly to engineering elements of the division in the coming year.