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NEWS | Aug. 2, 2018

Engineers Go Vertical: Troop Project Enhances Training Capabilities for LTA

By Catherine Carroll

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 317th Engineer Company, out of Homewood, Ill., are using an Automated Building Machine (ABM) to construct a 4,000 square foot Quonset hut at Joliet Training Area (JTA), in Elwood, Ill., as part of a Troop Support Project during their Annual Training, July 14-27.

Joliet Training Area is one of the ‘Big Six’ Local Training Areas (LTA) under the command of the 88th Readiness Division’s Directorate of Plans and Training.

“This is great experience. Doing a vertical mission is not something we normally get to do. We generally work on horizontal construction like roads and culverts. “Doing a building is a brand new experience,” said Staff Sgt. Harold Bevill, a combat engineer with the 317th and noncommissioned officer in charge of the project.

“Annual Training is one the few times a year these Joes get the chance to operate,” said Bevill. “Anytime we can get out in the field letting these guys actually get hands-on training is great. These guys are doing excellent. They have come together as a team and are working hard. We got the superstructure up in four days.”

The project is being led and supervised by Steven Jones, a facility range maintenance mechanic who has worked at JTA for the past 19 years. Although not part of his primary maintenance duties, he took an active interest in learning and working alongside an AMB training technician in 2015. This is Jones’s second project leading, supervising, and training Soldiers on an ABM construction.

“Generally, the standard in completing an ABM building requires about 22 dedicated Soldiers working eight to ten hour workdays for ten days,” Jones said. “Because of the motivation and determination of these 15 Soldiers, this project should be completed by the end of their Annual Training.

“They were eager to get going,” said Jones. “My experience with engineers is when they have an opportunity to come out to work on a project for a week or two, they are motivated, they’re aggressive and they want to learn.”

“We can’t do this without Troop support,” said Edward Delelio, a supervisory range support specialist with the 88th RD directorate of plans and training.

“Tapping into their abilities not only saves us money, it affords the Soldiers an opportunity to get the experience they need to be trained and ready in their skill set,” said Delelio. “And when completed, it gives us a product we can now use to provide enhanced training capability and support to Army Reserve and other military organizations for years to come.”

The 88th Readiness Division’s Directorate of Plans and Training’s ‘Big Six’ Local Training Areas include: Belton, Missouri; Weldon Springs, Missouri; Ogden, Utah; Kingsbury, Indiana; Fremont, Nebraska and Elwood, Illinois.

For more information on scheduling training at a LTA contact Jason Jones, 88th Readiness Division DPT training manager at or 608-388-0509.