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NEWS | May 21, 2018

Army components bolster relations through engineer project

By Sgt. Bethany Huff 99th Readiness Division

Soldiers work together in a variety of areas. Spanning from training together to deploying together. There are three components of the Army; active duty, Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. In many capacities, these entities are thought to work separately; however, they are constantly combining their efforts to accomplish their missions.

Recently, Soldiers from the 642nd Engineer Support Company resurfaced the 99th Readiness Division’s Equipment Concentration Site, located at Fort Drum, N.Y. 

“The weather here really messes up the ground, especially with the weighted vehicles constantly driving over the motor pool,” said Spc. Sam Kamano, a horizontal construction engineer with the 642nd Engineer Support Company. “So we’re spreading gravel and leveling out the lot for the reserve unit.”

Spreading rocks may seem insignificant to those passing by. But, the rocks do a lot more than sit in a lot, making it look nice and pretty. 

“Resurfacing the gravel at the ECS is important because this location is a storage facility where a significant percentage of Army Reserve equipment is both housed and maintained by Area Maintenance Support Activity,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Bowling, the regional engineer technician for the 99th Readiness Division’s Directorate of Public Works. “This directly impacts equipment readiness of the Army Reserve, which is a primary mission of the 99th Readiness Division.”

Often times, projects like this go to a civilian contract. However, the 99th Readiness Division is taking on a more collaborative approach. 

“Employing Soldiers to complete the work, in lieu of contracting civilian support, provides in intangible training value for the active-component Soldiers to help build their [job] proficiency in a controlled environment,” said Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, native Bowling. 

While this may be an unconventional approach to training, it is being widely received by the Soldiers on the ground.

“Hopefully… they will have more projects like this that we can work with them more,” said Kamano, a Las Vegas native. “This is good training, especially for units that don’t have as much equipment as others do.”

Kammano described how it is better for him and the Soldiers he works with to work on projects like these because it gives them a better feel for what their job entails. 

“From an operation standpoint, it’s better to get your hands on equipment than it is to learn from a book or magazine,” he also commented. 

Aside from training, the Army is saving money by collaborating within its components. 
“By Soldiers performing this task, the federal government saved a significant amount of money,” said Bowling. “The purchase of new stone for this project costs approximately $26,000. If the Army were to contract civilian support to also spread and compact this gravel, the project likely would have cost two or three times as much.”

While the Army Reserve is structured to manage specialized capabilities, this particular project, and ones like it, allow for the fostering of unity between components.

“We’re taking care of the reserve component because they’re not here all the time,” said Spc. Joey Parks, a horizontal construction engineer with the 642nd Engineer Support Company. “[In the] Army, we are all brothers and sisters, so we have to help each other out when we can.”