561st Engineers participate in NTC rotation in California

| April 12, 2013 | 0 Comments
FORT IRWIN, Calif. —  Spc. Sharon Shamblin, a heavy equipment  operator with the 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, maneuvers a D7 dozer while digging a tank defilade during the company’s NTC rotation, here, March 25.

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Spc. Sharon Shamblin, a heavy equipment operator with the 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, maneuvers a D7 dozer while digging a tank defilade during the company’s NTC rotation, here, March 25.

Story and photo by
1st Lt. Taylor Stokes
561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers of 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, recently returned, here, from the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Calif., where they increased their readiness and assisted the 2nd Heavy Bde. Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, with its preparation for an upcoming deployment.

“Besides actually going to Iraq or Afghanistan, this is the closest the Soldiers can get to experiencing what it is like being downrange,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Jusino, platoon sergeant, 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.

Over a period of 15 days and nights, the “Warriors” of the 561st Eng. Co. conducted several training missions that culminated in the completion of nine tank defilades, the improvement of an unmanned aerial vehicle airstrip, and emplacing more than 1,600 meters of tank ditch.

Spc. Joshua Daniel (left), heavy equipment  operator, 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, operates a grader under the supervision of Staff Sgt. Albert Mezquita, to complete the improvement of the UAV strip during the company’s NTC rotation. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class David Jusino, 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Spc. Joshua Daniel (left), heavy equipment operator, 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, operates a grader under the supervision of Staff Sgt. Albert Mezquita, to complete the improvement of the UAV strip during the company’s NTC rotation. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class David Jusino, 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

The Soldiers clocked countless hours of operating time, increasing their confidence and skills.

In one scenario, the commander of the 2nd HBCT requested the first 800 meters of tank ditch be complete within 24 hours. To meet the deadline, the engineers worked in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind gusts up to 15 miles per hour.

Regardless of the time or the weather, the Soldiers were ready to perform.

“I didn’t think I would actually enjoy coming to NTC, but I did,” said Spc. Jay Nichols, heavy equipment operator, 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “I was brought to what I thought was my breaking point, and then I surpassed it.”

The Soldiers were also able to cross-train with the engineers of Co. C, 2nd HBCT.

“I always love to operate as many different pieces of equipment as possible,” said Spc. Zachery Stiglitz, heavy equipment operator, 561st Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.

Stiglitz was one of the Soldiers from the 561st Eng. Co. who operated the Armored Combat Earthmover from Co. C, whose Soldiers, in turn, had the opportunity to operate the Warriors’ D7 bulldozers.

Other Soldiers who considered themselves experienced on only one piece of engineer equipment were challenged to learn the rest of the equipment the platoon had.

“I’ve earned the title of heavy equipment operator, because I’m not just a dozer operator,” said Pfc. Raymond Williams, newly titled heavy equipment operator with the 561st. “I know how to operate all the equipment in my platoon.”

“We were sent to NTC to reveal our weaknesses and then fix them, get our Soldiers stick time, and take part in some of the best training the United States Army has to offer,” Jusino added. “We did just that and are better for it.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *