84th Engineers support 25th ID, Marine Corps at PTA

| November 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
2nd Lt. Andrew Cammack
523rd Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

Pvt. Jesse Sheehan (left), Spc. Cody Botts (middle) and Pfc. David Guzman, all from 523rd Eng. Co., 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, spray soil adhesive on the airstrip to harden its surface. Soldiers from the 523rd Eng. Co. repaired Cooper Army Airfield, at PTA, Oct. 7, in support of 3rd BCT, 25th ID’s UAS operations. POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA — For nearly three weeks, Soldiers from the 523rd Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, honed their construction skills by repairing runways and roads, here, on Hawaii’s Big Island, Oct. 5-24.   

“It’s more like Afghanistan than any other training area I’ve seen,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Atencio, noncommissioned officer in charge, 523rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., referring to the unforgiving terrain of the training area.   

Soldiers in the company’s 3rd Platoon, the “Regulators,” repaired Cooper Army Airfield’s Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS airstrip, and constructed and repaired more than three miles of combat trails in the Keamuku Training Area, here.  

Within four days, runway repairs were complete, allowing the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, to incorporate UAS operations into its fire support coordination exercise, here. Unmanned aircraft are used to increase situational awareness and targeting capabilities of commanders on the ground. 

The airfield repairs required skilled equipment operations directed by experienced construction supervisors, a mission well suited for 3rd Platoon’s Soldiers and noncommissioned officers, who have completed similar engineer missions both in and out of combat.

In addition to the airfield repairs, the Regulators worked for two weeks on the Keamuku Loop Trail and other combat trails in the training area.  

“Construction of the Keamuku Loop Trail enhances PTA’s readiness to support Stryker training in the future,” said Dave Faucet, restoration ecologist and Integrated Training Area Management supervisor for PTA.  

Soldiers from the 523rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, repair combat trails in the Keamuku Training Area, Oct. 15, in support of future Stryker training at PTA. In the background (from left to right), Pvt. Jesse Sheehan operates the roller, Spc. Joe Garcia (right) hauls rock in the dump truck. In the foreground (from left to right), Staff Sgt. Christopher Atencio supervises, as Pvt. Frederick Avery operates the grader. The training area is designed to support Stryker and Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Vehicle maneuver training. The creation of the Keamuku Loop Trail is the first step toward further improvements to the training area, because the rough terrain limits off-road movement, and the trail promotes dust abatement on heavily traveled routes.  

“Keamuku was an important pathway from the coastal areas to the natural resources of Mauna Kea,” said Kaleo Kualil, on-site cultural monitor.

The trail also supports the Army’s efforts for good stewardship of the culturally- and environmentally-sensitive Keamuku area. 

The Army is able to provide better training for Army and Marine Corps maneuver units, while working closely with trained cultural and archeological advisors to maintain good relations with the local community and improve the Keamuku Training Area. 

Category: News, Training, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa (USAG-Pohakuloa)

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