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5th AR trains Guard engineers for Afghanistan deployments

October 3, 2012

By Capt. Khoi Nguyen, 1st Battalion, 361st Regiment, 5th Armored Training Brigade, Division West

The 5th Armored Brigade's Task Force Redhawk conducted two culminating training events recently with the Arizona Army National Guard's 258th Engineer Company from Phoenix and the Mississippi Army National Guard's 857th Engineer Company from Picayune, Miss. Both companies are horizontal engineer units that will conduct construction missions in Afghanistan.

"We have Soldiers that just graduated advanced individual training who are very inexperienced as operators," said 1st Lt. Mindy Dodge, platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, 258th Engineer Company. "This training will give them an opportunity to hone their skills before the deployment."

Soldiers from both units learned to operate and conduct preventive maintenance checks on horizontal construction equipment such as bulldozers, backhoe loaders, graders, rollers and dump trucks. But becoming familiar with the equipment was just part of the training. The units also had to complete three horizontal projects, including road repair projects and the construction of a motor pool.

"The projects these units are working on will benefit McGregor Range and the training of future units for years to come," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Jenschke, Detachment C, Task Force Redhawk.

During the CTEs, the units also received tactical training and were evaluated on many tasks, including mounted convoys, react to contact, briefing techniques, reporting procedures, actions on objective, and interacting with local nationals.

"The training was well-organized and highly detailed in that the trainers incorporated a wide variety of lanes and scenarios," said 1st Sgt. James Jennings of the 857th Engineer Company.

Not only did Task Force Redhawk trainers guide the units and show them a way to conduct their mission, they also enforced safety standards.

"The 5th Armored Brigade trainers were very attentive and focused on training," said Capt. Phillip Moseley, commander of the 857th Engineer Company. "Constructive critiques were given to all Soldiers, not just the convoy commander, assistant convoy commander and truck commanders. The attentiveness improved unit morale and a desire to improve."

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