TAUNTON, Mass. –
Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve’s 338th Engineer Company constructed a gazebo at the Army Reserve Center here Aug. 13, 2020, as part of the unit’s two-week annual training.
The unit was originally scheduled to spend two weeks at Fort Drum, New York, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unit needed to alter its training in order to meet force protection measures issued by the Department of Defense and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
One of these safety measures required any Soldier living outside a fifty-mile drive radius to conduct training remotely, which helped reduce the amount of foot traffic in the facility and maintain maximum social distancing.
According to unit leadership, the construction of the gazebo was originally scheduled to be worked on during one of the unit’s monthly battle assembly weekends. With a reduced workforce, the reimagined annual training provided a perfect scenario for the project to be completed and allowed the noncommissioned officers and more seasoned engineers to give personalized, focused training to the less experienced Soldiers.
“The sergeants are the ones who are really guiding us,” said Pvt. Dalton Jones, an interior electrician. “They do construction on the civilian side so their knowledge has really helped and aided us with the construction of the gazebo.”
While this project focused entirely on carpentry, the 338th consists of engineers with a wide range of backgrounds and specialized skills. With such a diverse group, this project provided the unit’s electricians, plumbers, and other non-carpentry engineers a practical hands-on opportunity to expand their skillsets.
We are learning about the different engineer-oriented military occupational specialties and this training allows our fellow Soldiers to learn about the tools we might need to use if we’re asked to step up and help with building something,” said Pvt. Kose Palma, a carpentry specialist.
Once erected, the gazebo will provide Soldiers working in the motor pool and area to take shelter from the elements while taking breaks and provide additional, temporary storage of items during the workday.
As the unit continues its annual training, the Soldiers of the 338th Engineer Company hope to get more hands-on experiences that will broaden their knowledge of both their military occupational specialty skills and the tools and techniques of other engineering specialties.