412th Engineer Command
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' Vicksburg District is one of 41 Corps districts worldwide and one of six districts in the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division (MVD). The City of Vicksburg is also home to the 412th Engineer Command (U. S. Army Reserve), and the 168th Engineer Group (Army National Guard).
The 412th ENCOM is a vital part of military engineer support to the ROK during armistice and, if necessary, wartime. An active troop construction program helps them put engineers on the ground to perform essential training and construct a variety of projects critical to defense of the ROK.
The 412th Engineer Command (ENCOM) is the lead unit for US Army troop construction in Korea. With headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the 412th ENCOM has four full-time Active Guard Reserve and five reservists assigned in a Forward office at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul. The Forward office together with units deploying from the US perform the mission essential tasks of the 412th ENCOM: Mobilize and Deploy; Provide Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence for Engineer Support of Force Projection; Provide Mobility, Force Protection, and Sustainment Engineer Support; Provide Technical Engineer Support; and Provide Topographic Support
The 412th ENCOM started a Reserve Component Troop Construction Program (RCTCP) in May 1997. Since then 900 soldiers deploy to Korea every year to do troop construction. Some of the units that have deployed recently include:
- 244th ECB(H) (CO USAR)
- 142nd ECB(H) (ND ARNG)
- 411th ECB(H) (HI USAR)
- C/864th ECB (H) (AK)(AC)
- 1224 EN PLT (UT) (GU ARNG)
- 411TH EN BDE (-) (NY USAR)
- 16th EN BDE (-) (OH ARNG)
- 105TH EN GP (-) (NC ARNG)
- 168TH EN GP (-) (MS ARNG)
Deployments normally last 15-21 days with a 50-100 personnel unit that "falls-in" on equipment already in theater. Services performed by units on overseas training deployments are: Survey & Design; Vertical Construction; Horizontal Construction; Building Construction; Road Repairs; and Range Upgrades. There are many benefits of troop construction: Train in a Major Theater of War; Cost Savings over contract construction; AC/RC Integration; METL Training; Mobilization Experience; Increase Quality of Life; and Improve Training Areas.
Because of labor and other cost savings, 412th ENCOM troop construction saves about $600,000 a year compared what it would cost for the same work performed by construction contractors. FY 2000 troop construction projects in ROK: 7 Butler Buildings; 2 75'x150' Maintenance Helipads; 1 100'x 280' FARP Site; 1 75'x600 Parking Pad (Apache); 1 Bradley Dud Pit Rehabilitation; Road upgrade; and Patriot Launch Pad upgrades and Missile Storage facility.
Through a program managed by USAREUR's Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer, and with the 412th Engineer Command working as the executive agent, Reserve-component soldiers are bringing their civilian occupational skills to Europe for two or three weeks at a shot.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the "pure construction" active-duty engineer presence has diminished in USAREUR. In the wake of the troop draw down since 1992, the 412th Eng. Cmd. has helped fill the construction vacuum by coordinating the deployment of reservists into theater to complete needed projects.
Both the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard engineer units maximize every opportunity to train at 7th Army Training Center sites in both Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels. The 7th ATC is considered by most of the reserve units as one of the best places to train in the world. Reserve-component units deploy under the Overseas Deployment Training Program.
It takes more than 2,200 reserve-component soldiers making their way to Europe annually under a USAREUR-wide project named the Troop Construction Training Program, to help complete the plethora of projects waiting. USAREUR active-duty soldiers also do their fair share of the program's work, but it is the reservists who complete the majority of the projects. It's in the 100th ASG - Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels specifically - where more than 75 percent of the reserve-component construction is completed under this program.
With bulldozers roaring, fresh cement splashing and cranes lifting large metal arches into place, Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas at times look like construction sites found anywhere in the United States. Men and women hurriedly move about with plastic hard hats on their heads, and with tools of the trade in their hands, as many of them do 40 or more hours per week back home. Here these workers don't wear bib-overalls, brown boots and muscle shirts, even though it could be their usual wear - they wear the uniform of a U.S. Army soldier.
The USAREUR Troop Construction Training Program benefits USAREUR in several ways. First, it provides a cost savings on construction projects as compared to contract construction. This allows USAREUR to stretch its limited resources and contributes to improved infrastructure throughout the command. Secondly, it promotes active-/reserve-component integration by affording reserve-component soldiers an opportunity to train in the European theater.
The 412th Engineer Command is the executive agent for the multi-year Golden Kastle series of exercises. As such, they identify which projects the Reserves can handle, coordinate which units will work them and allocate funding among the Reserve Support Commands. It's beneficial for the units because of the emphasis on quality control/quality assurance that comes with Corps of Engineers supervision. They have stringent requirements they have to meet and it helps the units see the benefits of QC/QA.
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