Capt. Jeremy Tilley
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
The detachment was tasked to survey a 10-kilometer road leading to the Mongolian armed forces’ Five Hills Training Center, which is used to conduct peacekeeping operations training for all United Nations countries.
The center also hosts the annual multinational peacekeeping training exercise known as KhaanQuest.
Its remote location in the sparsely populated hills of Mongolia is only accessible by a few dirt roads due to harsh weather eroding the primary route leading to the training center. The 142nd Survey and Design Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, had two survey elements walk the road and collect more than 3,500 separate GPS data points.
Once the Soldiers were back at the home station, they used specialized computer software to analyze the data and produce a 3-D model of the road and the surrounding terrain. This model will help engineers plan for a road improvement project.
While at the training center, the team also conducted a subject matter expert exchange with Mongolian armed forces engineers. The Mongolian engineers accompanied the detachment on its survey to learn more about the technology used and to discuss ideas about how the road would best be improved.
“The opportunity to work with the Mongolian armed forces was a life experience I will never forget,” said 2nd Lt. Kevin Daley, officer in charge for the mission, 142nd Survey and Design Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “I enjoy being able to work with an allied nation on real-life missions throughout the Pacific theater.”
This mission was the first deployment of any kind for several members of the survey team, and the detachment’s second mission since redeploying from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.
“It was a lot of fun to be able to visit a foreign country and execute a mission using my military occupational specialty, especially since we know it will help the Mongolian armed forces,” said Pfc. Bryan Brodt, 142nd Survey and Design Det., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.
In June, the detachment sent a survey team of six personnel to recertify Kastner Army Airfield at Camp Zama, Japan, because Federal Aviation Administration regulations require all airfields and heliports to be surveyed every five years.
The team gathered more than 650 different pieces of GPS and line-of-sight survey data on obstructions, airfield markers and approaches to the airfield, ensuring all were within FAA compliance, so the airfield would remain operational.
The detachment is currently the only unit of its kind in U.S. Army-Pacific and hopes to remain busy executing real-world missions.
In addition to surveying roads and airfields, the 142nd supports the 84th Eng. Bn.’s mission by providing scope of work and bill of materials estimates, technical drawings and quality assurance/control for all horizontal and vertical construction missions the battalion executes.