By 1st Lt. Grant Taulbee, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandNovember 28, 2012
KAHUKU TRAINING AREA, Hawaii -- It was a beautiful October day, with a clear blue sky above, here, and perfect for an air drop.
In preparation for their upcoming deployment, early next year, the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and the 130th Eng. Bde., worked in conjunction with the Navy and Air Force to execute an emergency deployment reaction exercise.
The exercise demonstrated the battalion's ability to deploy a company-sized air detachment within 48 hours.
"As far as the air detachment goes, I have full confidence in their ability to conduct their mission," said Lt. Col. Aaron Reisinger, commander, 84th Eng. Bn., during the after-action review.
The exercise, which began Oct. 2, stressed the battalion's operations processes in preparing for an emergency construction mission.
The Soldiers of Forward Support Company, 84th Eng. Bn., had some unique opportunities working in the embark yard, where all of the vehicles and equipment are prepared to be loaded into the aircraft.
"It's good, especially when we get to see different vehicles that we don't (usually get to) work with" said Pfc. Ramon Willis, a fueler in the FSC, who worked on weighing and measuring vehicles. "There's a lot of math involved and I like it."
The Soldiers from the "Never Daunted" battalion explained that it was a lot of work crammed into a short amount of time, but they are getting a lot of knowledge out of it.
"I learned a lot," explained Sgt. David Alex, a petroleum supply specialist in the FSC. "We learned the whole process of EDRE and the way the Navy does things."
With no prior experience in carpentry, Alex learned the basics from Soldiers of the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., and put those skills to work by cutting all the lumber used for shoring the equipment in the aircraft. He described it as "a whole new experience."
"We're getting better," said Sgt. 1st Class Ladena Stevenson, operations sergeant for the FSC. "It's a learning experience, but overall, we're doing good."
The exercise concluded with seven pallets dropping into KTA.
"It was really a good exercise," Reisinger said, with a satisfied smile.