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926th Engineer Group

The 926th Engineer Group in Montgomery, Alabama, was the USARC action agent for GOLDEN CARGO 98. USARC provided site survey teams to visit White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Oklahoma; Red River Army Depot, Texas; and Hawthorne Army Depot, Nevada, during January and February 1997. During the site surveys, the 926th Engineers determined the scope of work needed at each installation while preparing a doctrinally aligned troop list for USARC approval. This troop list will be manned by USAR and ARNG units.

Army Reservists from the 81st RSC began the first of many short journeys from Alabama to El Salvador to help that small nation begin their long and difficult road to recovery from Hurricane Mitch. Approximately 129 soldiers boarded a chartered DC-10 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, for the first two-week rotation that will bring much needed assistance to this Central American country that was devastated by the lethal hurricane in October 1998. Nine additional rotations of soldiers followed with the last rotation departing on July 30 and returning on 15 August 1999 to conclude the six-month humanitarian mission.

The exercise, dubbed "Operation New Horizons," is a long-term exercise program, previously existing, which was expanded due to Hurricane Mitch and the resulting damage. Task Force "New Hope" under the command of Col. Robert Williamson and the 926th Engineer Group from Montgomery, which he also commands, had multiple missions while in country. These missions include: construction of four 3-room school/clinics; restoration of a river channel near the town of Chilanguera; construction of four low-water crossings; repair of a bridge abutment; and drilling of two wells to provide potable water to the local community.

More than 1500 soldiers from the 81st RSC took part in Task Force New Hope alongside many more from assignments outside the RSC. A duration staff of approximately 45 soldiers remained in El Salvador for the entire six-month period, ensuring the transition between rotations goes smoothly and that assigned projects continue without interruption. The soldiers bound for El Salvador, as volunteers, came from throughout the eight-state RSC area, including Reservists from outside the command.

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