Army Engineers expand USMC training areas

| July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
ench warfare system facility will provide increased readiness for land forces across Hawaii. (Photo by 1st Lt. John D. Howard Jr., 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

ench warfare system facility will provide increased readiness for land forces across Hawaii. (Photo by 1st Lt. John D. Howard Jr., 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

1st Lt. Thomas Shade
8th Theater Sustainment Command

With the Pacific region as busy as it’s ever been, the need for increased readiness here has never been higher.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii recently got a valuable boost in its operational capabilities from a new live-fire trench warfare system courtesy of help provided by the Army’s 561st Engineer Construction Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

Army Engineers and Marines work together to build the Range 5 Trench Construction Project on Marine Corps Base Hawaii on June 14 for a project briefing and site walk-through. The recently completed live-fire trench warfare system facility will provide increased readiness for land forces across Hawaii. (U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Lindsey Elder, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Army Engineers and Marines work together to build the Range 5 Trench Construction Project on Marine Corps Base Hawaii on June 14 for a project briefing and site walk-through. The recently completed live-fire trench warfare system facility will provide increased readiness for land forces across Hawaii. (U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Lindsey Elder, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

The Range 5 Trench Construction Project was a joint effort. Army and Marine Corps engineers worked together to produce the complex design. Now complete, it provides a vital training facility for land forces across Hawaii.

“The shoot houses, clearing houses and mortar range, in addition to this construction, allows us to train on combined effects,” said Marine Corps Col. Sean C. Killeen, outgoing commander of MCB Hawaii.

“Everything they have done has been amazing quality of work, on time, and it keeps us asking what kind of projects they can help us expand on next,” he added.

Due to an estimated $3.5 million civilian contractor cost of construction and a time constraint of two-and-a-half months to complete it, the Range 5 Trench Project proposal had been up for consideration for nearly two years prior to its acceptance.

However, leaders in the 561st Eng. Co. saw the great challenge and training opportunity the project afforded.

“With 80 engineers working on a strict schedule on more than 200 separate construction tasks, all while operating with zero safety incidents, it’s a true testament to the ability of the Soldiers on this mission,”  said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Keown, a platoon sergeant in the 561st Eng. Co. and the non-commissioned officer in charge.

Planning began in January. Construction broke ground on April 20.

Over 500 posts have been placed across the trench to form the six live fire grenade pits, 30 pop-out target points and 1,300 linear feet of trench pathway.

“Not only is it great training for our engineers, but this is an important and unique opportunity for us to work together increasing readiness for the Army and Marines across the island,” said said Maj. Gen. Susan A. Davidson, commanding general of the 8th TSC.

The range was deemed fully operational in mid-July.

Construction efforts by the 561st Eng. Co. are projected to save MCB Hawaii $2.6 million in construction costs as well as an estimated six months’ worth of construction time when the base ranges would otherwise have to be closed.

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