U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District’s 565th Engineer Detachment, Forward Eng. Support Team-Advance, or FEST-A, recently deployed to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., to complete its mission readiness exercise and final certification in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
“The NTC rotation was a great mission for the team because it involved working with maneuver units, interpreters, civil and military officers, and most importantly, it was the most realistic training we have received so far,” said Maj. William Hannan, commander, 565th Eng. Det.
The overall goal for NTC training was for the 565th Eng. Det. to become qualified on its mission essential tasks; field force engineer equipment, or FFE; and critical deployment needs such as combat lifesaver training.
“Our critical training needs for deployment were accomplished by integrating with a maneuver unit from the New York Army National Guard and conducting the training in conditions very similar to our targeted theater of operations,” Hannan said.
The NTC mission’s was to provide technical engineer support during exercise simulations, based on real-world scenarios.
The specific training objectives during the rotation included becoming proficient in planning, designing and managing construction; conducting engineer reconnaissance on roads and bridges; developing and improving base camps; coordinating engineer support with a host nation and coalition; planning engineer support to protection efforts; certifying all team members as combat lifesavers; conducting USACE-HD reach-back operations; and becoming proficient with FFE equipment.
At NTC, the 565th Eng. Det. conducted several training missions that culminated in completion of 11 projects, ranging from engineer reconnaissance to base camp planning and design. The team also participated in brigade working groups and integrated with multiple agencies, including a provincial reconstruction team, Afghanistan district and provincial officials, civil and military officers, the base defense operations cell, the forward operating base mayor cell and the division engineer.
“The training was very realistic,” said Alan Avery, electrical engineer, 565th Eng. Det. “The training area was set up to replicate operating in the real world and included everything from small towns and villages to actual role players speaking local languages that you would encounter while deployed.”
“The NTC rotation directly improved the 565th Eng. Det.’s training readiness and proved we are ready for deployment,” Hannan said.