497th Engineer Company activates at Fort Carson
October 20, 2011
By Dustin Senger (Fort Carson)
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Soldiers from 52nd Engineer Battalion welcomed the arrival of the unit's fifth company Oct. 14, since the battalion's reactivation last year.
Capt. Seth Chappell reported to the battalion motor pool with more than 100 Soldiers assigned to 497th Engineer Company. The formation stood between a road grader, a scraper and two heavy loaders -- tools of the trade for Army horizontal engineers.
The unit started accumulating personnel and equipment in January, according to Capt. Ryan Gray, 497th Eng. executive officer. The company gradually funneled about 185 Soldiers into five platoons: three contain equipment operators, one offers equipment mechanics and another carries out administrative duties.
The 497th Eng. had been deactivated in September 1995 at Fort Eustis, Va.
During its activation ceremony, 497th Eng. joined 52nd Eng. Bn. at Fort Carson. The battalion ended a five-year hiatus in April 2010 and reactivated with 615th Eng. Company, Forward Support Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and then added 544th Eng. Company six months later.
"Even though they got delayed a year, for their activation, they didn't stop training," said Lt. Col. Michael Brooks, commander of 52nd Eng. Bn., after handing the 497th Eng. colors to Chappell, thereby symbolizing the activation of the company and Chappell's appointment as commander.
Brooks commended several of the Soldiers' accomplishments while the company formed. He explained their top participation in a battalion "best squad" competition and their tactical skills in live-fire exercises. He also highlighted their recent completion of an airstrip at Camp Guernsey, Wyo.
"They got a lot of experience, as far as operators went," said Brooks, regarding Camp Guernsey. "But they came together as a team and that's the most important part. Everybody learned something every day. They got very proficient and delivered a great product.
"These Soldiers are disciplined and you can tell they've spent a lot of time preparing.
"In a couple of weeks, they'll go to JRTC, the Joint Readiness Training Center (at Fort Polk, La.), which is really the Super Bowl of Army training. So, even in their first month of activation, they're going to the Super Bowl already -- pretty impressive."
"Although we're the final company of the battalion to activate, this is not a new company," said Chappell, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and former battalion operations officer. "Our company's guidon weighs heavy with 22 streamers. The streamers tell a story of service to the nation that reaches back generations.
"Having had the honor and privilege of serving with this company for the last 10 months, I can tell you with confidence that the Soldiers and leaders of 497th Engineer Company can and will execute every task that their nation asks of them. 'Devastator 6' signing in -- 'Build and Destroy.'"
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