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NEWS | Dec. 10, 2015

Army Reserve engineers provide critical support at home, abroad

By Amy Phillips, Fort Hunter Ligget Public Affairs 80th Training Command (TASS)

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. (Dec. 1, 2015) -- Army Reserve engineers provide critical support to the Total Army mission during deployments and save the Army thousands of dollars through troop projects on installations like Fort Hunter Liggett, or FHL.

The 80th Total Army School System, or TASS, Training Center , or 80th TTC, conducts 30 percent of engineer training. Maj. Fernando Lavana, 80th TTC commandant, said its training load will increase in the near future with their new school house, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

"TTC FHL provides continual good weather, more open space to drive the vehicles and flexibility of training on the calendar for training [as compared to other TTCs]," Lavana said.

The Horizontal Construction Engineer (12N) Reclassification Course conducted at FHL is a two-phased course, which includes classroom instruction and hands-on training.

Phase I consists of 12 days of intensive training on how to safely operate and maintain a 10-ton dump truck, a 2.5 cubic yard loader and an hydraulic excavator. Phase II is a 14-day class on the backhoe, motor grader, a wheeled scraper, and D7R Dozer.

"At the end of each phase, the students are tasked with a 24-hour construction project that will enable them to get a chance to put their new skills into action while using critical thinking and work as a team," said Sgt. 1st Class Lance Widner, noncommissioned officer of the 12N course.

Participants also have to learn about soil types and pass several written exams to successfully complete the course and be awarded the new skill identifier.

Soldiers reclassify or obtain a new skill by choice sometimes when the Army reclassifies a unit. Usually this occurs when Service members want to join the Army from other branches of the military or switch positions that might offer better promotion opportunities.

The 80th TTC is part of the 80th Training Command. The 80th TC provides command and control for the Army Reserve TASS, which trains Soldiers in more than 50 military occupational specialties. The FHL TTC also hosts military police and civil affairs courses throughout the year.

Army Reserve engineers also save the Army and taxpayer money through troop projects at installations around the country.

"Projects that engineer troops construct at FHL realize a win, win, win scenario for all involved," said Lt. Col. David Phillips, deputy director of plans, training, mobilization and security. "Not only do the engineer Soldiers and units gain essential experience and training, but in doing so, they build and enhance training facilities for other Soldiers to use when training at FHL."

Engineers have supported FHL with sidewalk and road construction projects as well as helipad and facilities construction at the base camps.

These real-world missions provide Soldiers with hands-on experience that enhances their performance during deployments and provides them with tangible skills for civilian employment.

According to the Army's Structure & Manpower Allocation System Report from July, the Army National Guard provides 47 percent of engineers to the Total Army Force. The Army Reserve follows with 36 percent and the active component has 17 percent of the engineers.