Story and Photos by
Capt. Christopher Ren
84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command
Exercise brings strength to malnourished warrior tasks
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Digging defensive fighting positions and holding back a conventional enemy force is not something the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, usually experiences at its construction project sites.
However, that was the battalion’s mission during its latest field training exercise, or FTX, here, Aug. 2-11, where it trained its companies on base defense tasks under general war conditions.
During the last few months, the battalion focused on its role in supporting high-intensity conflicts and full-spectrum operations, which encompass offensive, defensive and stability operations in areas of persistent conflict.
Each company was charged with conducting a tactical road march and establishing a defense, while fighting off consistent attacks by a determined enemy.
“This (FTX) is the crawl phase of our ‘return to the basics’ training theme,” explained Capt. Orlando Craig, commander, 643rd Eng. Company, 84th Eng. Bn. “It has provided an excellent venue to exercise basic field, craft and defensive warrior tasks that have atrophied while the majority of units have conducted counterinsurgency operations in either Iraq or Afghanistan. It has given us a great base from which we can build and improve upon.”
During the exercise, Soldiers of all five of the battalion’s subordinate companies constructed individual fighting positions and entry control points, and emplaced chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN, protective measures.
Observer/trainers from the 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., supported the companies and provided objective and candid feedback during every phase of the exercise.
The opposing forces, consisting of additional 84th Eng. Bn. Soldiers, conducted probing reconnaissance and CBRN attacks while the companies were establishing their defenses.
As the attacks escalated, the companies fought back fiercely and continued to improve their positions.
The culminating event was a full attack and perimeter breach of the companies’ defenses, which provided a dramatic and exciting finale to the exercise.
“The battalion has a robust construction schedule, with projects in Hawaii (and) throughout the Pacific, where we practice and improve our technical skills,” said Maj. Estee Pinchasin, operations officer, 84th Eng. Bn. “Therefore, it is critical for us to integrate tactical tasks into our training to ensure our overall deployment readiness.”
Meanwhile, the battalion staff was also participating in the 130th Eng. Bde.’s Command Post Staff Integration Training, or CPSIT, exercise.
The battalion deployed its tactical command post to control the field portion of the training, while the rest of the battalion staff practiced its planning and operations processes in a scenario-based multi-echelon training exercise.
The CPSIT was also used as a building block to help prepare the battalion to support a full-spectrum exercise at the end of October, which prepares the battalion for contingency operations on the Korean peninsula.