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NEWS | April 25, 2017

Engineers Commence Operations at the JNTC

By 1st Lt. Louis Stevens 926th Engineer Brigade

Soldiers from the United States Army Reserve, the United States Army National Guard, the US Navy and the Romanian Land Forces initiated construction on a series of projects in Cincu, Romania as participants in an engineering exercise entitled Resolute Castle 2017, April 14 – May 3. 

The 702nd Horizontal Engineer Company, 391st Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, United States Army Reserve, the 1223rd Vertical Engineer Company, 59th Troop Battalion, South Carolina Army National Guard and the 10th Engineer Brigade Romanian Land Forces are some of the units who are currently constructing engineer projects at the Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania. 

The attending units fulfill their annual training obligation through their deployment to Romania and execution of their objectives while in country. The first of eight rotations arrived to the Joint National Training Center on April 14, where they initiated operations in developing a training site, on which infantry and armored units will train for years to come.

"I've done two of my last three annual trainings overseas, in Kuwait and Japan. The Romanians are very military-friendly, and there is not as much of a language barrier here,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Lewis of the 391st Engineer Battalion, 844th Engineer Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard. “It's great getting to work on building skills and relationships with our NATO allies, and for a history buff like myself, getting to be in a place where so much history happened." 

Engineer units deploy in rotations of 21 days, during which they construct the training infrastructure found in the immediate vicinity of the Joint National Training Center, Cincu, Romania. Their complete various projects which enable NATO forces to enhance capabilities and tactical prowess, thereby affording allied militaries the ability to rapidly respond to crises in the region. 

Engineer projects will be developed over the course of 6 months, and approximately 1,500 United States, United Kingdom and Romanian Soldiers will contribute to their construction in that time frame.

"For this first rotation, we are beginning work on a non-standard live-fire range and a low-water crossing. Meanwhile, we are working alongside the Seabees (Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1), who have already started work on the operations and storage building. For them, it's a marathon, as they are here for six months of construction; the Army side will be more like a relay race with a series of 3-week rotations,” said CPT Larson, the officer in charge of all JNTC projects, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, United States Army Reserve.

U.S. Soldiers from the respective units labor from dawn until dusk alongside their Romanian and U.K. counterparts, exercising skills and fulfilling mission objectives with the understanding that not only are they developing mission essential abilities, but also a strengthened relationship among NATO allies. 

Leadership of the projects continuously reinforces this theme to their Soldiers, a theme which those leaders have come to understand through their months of planning and collaboration with Romanian and United Kingdom forces. 

“This operation allows our Soldiers to learn how to work with our allies and will strengthen the bonds between our forces and our nations in the face of shared global concerns,” related Maj. Christopher Stanton, Task Force officer in charge, 391st Engineer Battalion, 844th Engineer Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard. “We are grateful to the hospitality of our host nation and will leave Cincu even better than we found it, with added infrastructure to support further operations.” 

The Joint National Training Center’s improvements through the initiatives of Resolute Castle strengthen allied nations’ ability to respond to threats in the region while simultaneously galvanizing ties among said nations. Such is an admirable and honorable duty participating Soldiers fulfill through the execution of their engineering missions; the fruits of which will be evident for decades to come.