29th BEB Sappers get recon training at Bellows

| February 1, 2018 | 2 Comments

Combat Engineers from Alpha Company, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, wait in formation before loading onto a CH-47 Chinook. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Ann Dailey, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team)

Story and photos by
2nd Lt. Ann Dailey
29th Brigade Engineer Battalion
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS — While most Soldiers in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Broncos,” were making final preparations to head to the Joint Readiness Training Center, or JRTC, in Fort Polk, Louisiana, the 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion’s (BEB) Alpha Company, “Sappers,” were conducting a three-day field training exercise (FTX), here, at MCTAB, on the windward side of the island.

When asked about the training, Company Commander Capt. Alex Withenbury said, “Eng. Reconnaissance is an important task for our company, and our support to the Brigade Combat Team. We wanted to make sure we refreshed ourselves on reconnaissance tasks before we went to JRTC.”

The company conducted the training extremely light when compared to a normal FTX for a combat engineer company – only packing individual equipment necessary to conduct the training.

Combat Engineers from Alpha Company, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, measure the width of a road as part of a route reconnaissance. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Ann Dailey, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team)

Sapper Co. split the training into four scenarios, or lanes, with each squad (approximately 10 Soldiers) conducting each lane under both day and night conditions. The lanes consisted of route, bridge, river and obstacle/restriction reconnaissance.

The purpose of these different types of reconnaissance is to provide higher echelons more information about those objectives to determine materials necessary to move through them.

Additionally, leaders can grade Soldiers on their ability to conduct these lanes where they gather data and perform calculations to determine information, such as curve radius, slope of a hill and ford viability for vehicle crossings.

Combat Engineers from Alpha Company, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, load onto a CH-47 Chinook. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Ann Dailey, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team)

1st Lt. Sean McGivney, platoon leader, said, “We took full advantage of this opportunity to practice squad, platoon and company SOPs (standard operating procedures), certify new team leaders and conduct decontamination training, all while familiarizing Sappers with the tactics, techniques and procedures to successfully complete a tactical reconnaissance. Also, we practiced helicopter loading operations to and from MCTAB.”

One platoon (approximately 20 Soldiers) conducted patrolling training. They practiced land navigation; conducted raids, ambushes and movement techniques; and established patrol bases – all during both day and night. The training concluded with some squad competition physical readiness training and some classes on the beach.

The helicopter training, provided by Bravo Co., 3rd Bn., 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Avn Bde.’s “Hillclimbers,” was a highlight for many Soldiers.

“I really enjoyed the different training that we did,” said Spc. Andrew Collins. “We don’t get to do reconnaissance training very often, so it was a nice change. Plus, I liked the flight and the training location.”

In conducting this training, Sappers ensured that they will be prepared to maximize their supported maneuver units’ mobility at JRTC.
“Maneuver commanders rely on engineer disciplines to add breadth and depth to the overall understanding of the operational environment. … Engineer capabilities are significant force multipliers in joint operations, facilitating the freedom of action necessary for the joint force commander to meet mission objective,” states the policy Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures 3-34.22 (in Engineer Operations – Brigade Combat Team and Below).

Maneuver commanders in 3rd BCT will be able to count on Alpha Co. Sappers, thanks to their hard-nosed training at Bellows and throughout the year.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: News, Training

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Barrett Emenheiser says:

    Well done Sappers! Great article Ann. We Succeed!

  2. Barrett Emenheiser says:

    Way to go Sappers! A/29 is a great combat unit ready for anything – mahalo for your service to our nation.

Leave a Reply

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