Boise Army Reserve engineers support 1st Cavalry Division in California desert

By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Proseus | 416th Theater Engineer Command | Feb. 1, 2019

FORT IRWIN, Calif. —

Most people travel to California to enjoy vacation, but the soldiers of the 391st Mobile Augmentation Company (MAC) went there to brave harsh weather, and little sleep to train at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin. The U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from Boise, Idaho, spent most of January enhancing their combat engineer skills during the NTC’s third rotation of 2019.

During the exercise, the 391st emplaced inert minefields, wired up inert crater charges, dug vehicle fighting positions, strung up triple-strand concertina wire, created bridges over obstacles with an Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB), and fired a Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) rocket.

The 391st MAC is a unique army engineer unit designed to shape a battlefield, making it easier for allied units to maneuver, and either make it harder for enemy units to maneuver or force them to move to where allied combat units want them to be.

“We’re basically here to set up obstacles. We’re 3rd platoon, counter-mobility,” said Pfc. Khaleb Dutton, a combat engineer from the 391st MAC. “So, we basically stop the enemy from coming to us, and 1st and 2nd platoon go to the enemy and breach wire obstacles.”

The NTC has a massive training area of about 1,000 square miles, with 7,200 live-fire targets controlled by a team of personnel using a sophisticated system operating throughout the NTC.

“It’s an exercise designed to challenge, and interact units on a brigade or battalion level,” explains 1st Lt. Jennifer Richards, an engineer officer with the 391st, and platoon leader for 3rd platoon.

The 391st supported the 1st Squadron 12th Cavalry Regiment, and the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion; both part of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the active duty units, and seeing their components and their capabilities compared to ours,” said Richards. “We work with what we got. And, we get it done.”