Story and Photo by
2nd Lt Robert M. Leedham
84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The 84th Engineer Battalion, “Never Daunted,” 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, began its pre-deployment training, Feb. 21-March 2, for its upcoming mission in Guam in support of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.
With a new battalion commander, a command sergeant major and two new company commanders, the “Never Daunted” Bn. took on the challenge of completing its first multi-echelon field exercise of the year spearheaded by its new leadership.
The unit’s objective was to validate the battalion headquarters’ mission command capability and field sustainment and maintenance operations.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, together with the Forward Support Co., established operations at Leader’s Field, here, to certify its new tactical operations center and communications systems.
The first phase of the exercise, the build phase, enabled the battalion staff and both companies to practice, rehearse and refine facilities setup and systems configuration before moving into the austere field phase.
Then, the companies conducted tactical patrol operations and quartering party operations, where Soldiers established a tactical assembly area in East Range, here, and prepared integrated defenses.
“Soldiers were reoriented to subscribe to a ‘back to basics’ mentality,” said 1st Sgt. Jerald Sandberg, first sergeant, HHC. “We were focused on achieving proficiency in our tactical operating procedures and multi-echelon command and control through a series of collective and individual tasks.”
During the exercise, Soldiers worked day and night to secure the perimeter and build the battalion’s mission command and field sustainment operations. In the process, they enhanced their field craft by working in the muddy terrain, which proved especially challenging for the multi-ton vehicles.
Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants implemented sleep rotations to maintain constant security and productivity on the line. Soldiers took shifts fending off a fictitious enemy named “PAD-A,” who continually probed and harassed the perimeter with simulated indirect and small arms fire.
Simultaneously, the unit ran 24/7 patrol operations, completing logistics operations, engineer reconnaissance missions and construction support operations.
“Leaders and Soldiers were challenged with executing tasks in a field environment where fatigue and weather played an immense role on Soldier performance and morale,” said Capt. Maurice Harford, commander, FSC. “There truly is a difference between getting work done at the motor pool and running 24 hour operations in the field. The combat scenario allowed me a unique opportunity to gauge both our strengths and weaknesses.”
The validation of the battalion’s mission command and sustainment capabilities laid the groundwork for the next step in the pre-deployment training to take place at Pohakuloa Training Area, on the Big Island, in April and May.
The battalion will execute its deployment certification exercises in September and October followed by vertical and horizontal construction cross training, as well as project management and quality assurance skills development.