By Staff Sgt. Roger Ashley, 412th TEC Public AffairsSeptember 9, 2012
Capt. Michael W. Huntanar's first trip to Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012 in the Republic of Korea gave him a new appreciation for the mission and the Korean people.
"Our mission for UFG12 was to complete an equipment survey of Chilgok Stadium adjacent to Camp Carroll to find out how many wheeled vehicles the stadium could hold," said Huntanar of Bordentown, N.J.
Hunatar is a member of 368th Forward Engineer Support Team-Main out of Decatur, Ga.
The team's mission was to determine if the stadium is a viable convoy staging area as part of Camp Carroll's contingency plan. The team had to consider different factors. One of the methods the team used at the stadium was SWEAT - an acronym which stands for Sewer, Water, Electricity, Academics and Trash.
"As an engineer officer, the SWEAT acronym can be used on practically any engineering project," said Huntanar.
Huntanar serves as a project manager with the Corps of Engineers in his hometown.
"I'm an architect by trade and at my unit, my job title would be a civil engineer, but in reality you're not just doing civil, you're more of a 'Jack of all Trades'," said Huntanar. "When I deployed to Afghanistan back in 2003-2004, we were basically in charge of everything concerning engineering and construction on the base."
"We're sort of the construction experts. That's what we bring to the table. When it comes to construction or sustainment, we bring the engineer expertise into theater."
"A take-away from this exercise for me, was the camaraderie I've had working with the people in the 368th," said Huntanar. "I'm with a team up in New Jersey. The 368th Engineer Detachment is composed of other FEST teams around the east coast. We rarely get together so the folks I rarely get to see, I got a chance to work with them and get to know them more."
One challenge Huntanar faced was he had never worked with ROD Soldiers before. "I didn't know what to expect," said Huntanar, but he found training with them to be his greatest reward during the UFG12 exercise.
"The biggest thing for me was working with the ROK and the culture and the people here," said Huntanar. " We're partners with the ROK military and so it's a benefit to them as well."
"Our Korean counterparts were very interested in how FEST teams worked. When I first met Capt. Choi, ROK Air Force, he had paperwork showing a breakdown of what a FEST team was, what equipment they had and how they operated. I was really impressed by what I saw. They had been doing their research," he said.
"It was good to have the ROK there just to meet people and speak the language. We did not have any interpreters and Capt. Choi spoke very good English. Having him here, it made a world of difference."
"This is a great country, I'd come back again," Huntanar concluded.