Engineers build bonds, structures

| March 17, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Hwan Shin (left), Pfc. Danielle Robinson (center), both carpentry and masonry specialists with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, along with Sgt. 1st Class Chris Winn, platoon sergeant, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., float concrete in the placement of a concrete pad, during construction of a two-room building on Schofield Barracks, Feb. 24.

Spc. Hwan Shin (left), Pfc. Danielle Robinson (center), both carpentry and masonry specialists with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, along with Sgt. 1st Class Chris Winn, platoon sergeant, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., float concrete in the placement of a concrete pad, during construction of a two-room building on Schofield Barracks, Feb. 24.

Story and Photo by
1st Lt. Brandy Kinstle
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

 

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Each year, Army engineer units from across the Pacific help build much-needed facilities in the Philippines, as part of the annual bilateral military exercise “Balikatan.”

This year, Soldiers of the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, will participate in Balikatan 2011, held March 11-April 16, which will prepare them to build bonds as well as structures.

Training for the engineers’ mission has meant many long hours on the job site, but engineers have been placing concrete and laying blocks to construct a two-room masonry building. The structure is a replica of the elementary schools engineers will construct at three different locations in the Philippines. Here, the building will serve as a training facility to support deploying units.

“This project has been a good opportunity to brush up on our skills,” said Spc. Wesley Landry, carpentry and masonry specialist, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “In a few weeks, we will display our skills in the Philippines, and I want to be ready.”

The mission will place engineers side-by-side, or “shoulder-to-shoulder” — the translation for the term Balikatan — with soldiers of the Armed Forces Philippines.

Landry led a team responsible for putting up the columns. He focused on using the same construction techniques as those practiced by their AFP counterparts.

“We will build side-by-side with the AFP,” he said, “and we need to understand their methods of construction.”

For many of the less-experienced Soldiers, this occasion is the first time they have worked on a masonry project of this scale.

As the team placed concrete blocks to form the walls, Sgt. Lester Hoy, 3rd Platoon, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., noticed how the knowledge and efficiency of the unit increased steadily as the project progressed. The construction project also gave those Soldiers who are new to the Army and the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., a chance to expand their skills.

“In Advanced Individual Training, we learned basic carpentry and masonry skills but nothing that (can) compare with being on a job site, getting our hands dirty and building a lasting project,” said Pfc. John O’Sullivan, electrician, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.

The unit has been preparing for their upcoming participation in Balikatan 2011 since November 2010, and leaders hope the building here will serve as a lasting reminder of the quality training and hard work that their Soldiers put into making a difference for the community here and in the Philippines.

 

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Category: Exercises, News, Training

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