Engineers deploy, build road on U.S./Mexico border

| July 16, 2010 | 0 Comments

Armando Carrasco &  1st Lt. Brigida Sanchez
Contributing Writers

Soldiers carry stones to a newly constructed ditch to help control the flow of water and prevent soil erosion on a border road. (Armando Carrasco | Joint Task Force-North Public Affairs)FORT BLISS, Texas — A detachment of military engineers from the 82nd Engineer Support Company, 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, based at Schofield Barracks, completed a monthlong deployment to the U.S.-Mexico border, July 3.  

The engineers deployed to Southern California in response to a request for Department of Defense assistance, submitted by the U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego sector. 

The company volunteered to repair and upgrade 3.5 miles of border road, used by border patrol agents near the Tecate Port of Entry, located southeast of San Diego. The road project is designed to enhance the mobility and safety of border patrol agents responding to suspected illegal activities along the border, and was coordinated by Joint Task Force-North, the U.S. Northern Command element based, here. 

“Military engineer units from all services execute a variety of construction projects along the Southwest border,” said Lt. Col. Larry Stephney, JTF-North staff engineer. “Our engineer support operations provide military engineer units unique training opportunities to exercise multiple, skill-level tasks in military construction.”

“This mission provided us with a unique opportunity to certify our unit on its horizontal construction capabilities for future deployments,” said Capt. Joshua Long, commander, 82nd Eng. Support Co., 130th Eng. Bde. “Our unit leaders were exposed to a technical mission that will enhance their capabilities. This is critical to our future success.”

JTF-North support operations provide units with the opportunity to train on 90 percent of their mission-essential task lists, the units’ required military wartime duties. In accordance with DoD policy, JTF-North support missions must provide a training benefit to volunteer units or make a significant contribution to national security.

“We don’t get the opportunity to 

operate equipment very often,” said Staff Sgt. Ivan Ramirez, platoon sergeant with the 82nd. “During the five hours of Sergeants’ Training Time, our Soldiers only receive about two hours of technical training.

“Here, the Soldiers receive eight hours of technical training each day, for 20 days,” he said. “That adds up to 160 hours of (actual equipment operating) time. That’s plenty of time for the Soldiers to become proficient on a variety of equipment.”

(Editor’s Note: Armando Carrasco is with Joint Task Force North Public Affairs, and 1st Lt. Brigida Sanchez is with 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.)

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