VICKSBURG, Miss. –
The 758th Engineer Company began construction of the first Army Reserve (AR) Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) track this week in Miramar, Fla.
Cpt. Joel Escobales, commander of the 758th, proudly explained that the planning of the track originated with his company. Initially, he hoped the track would be at his unit but events caused the location to move this January.
“(The track) was supposed to be at Perrine, where my unit is,” said Escobales. “But the 81st (Readiness Division) changed the location recently to Miramar and we had to adjust our planning accordingly.”
The 758th enthusiastically accepted the two-week challenge of clearing within the 200-acre area and building the six-lane course with multiple structures and a two-mile track.
“The (existing running) track is about 1.8 miles,” said Escobales. “But we are extending it in some areas and adding a good layer of packed gravel.”
Despite the magnitude of the project, 1st Lt. Travis Ingraham, the 758th Executive Officer, stated that the unit was up to the task and would gain much from the construction.
“(In) the 758th, I think we have some of the best Soldiers in the military,” said Ingraham. “The Soldiers are getting good training to continue improving on their proficiency of their vehicles and their (Military Occupational Specialty).”
Lt. Col. Scott Chavers, Chief of Force Development for the 412th Theater Engineer Command, concurred with Ingraham’s training assessment for the mission along with Escobales.
“The more time a Soldier spends exercising their craft, the more proficient the Soldier becomes individually and that leads to a more cohesive, technically sound unit,” said Chavers. “(The track creation) provides an opportunity for Soldiers to build a track, equipment storage area, ACFT lanes, and move dirt.”
Chavers expressed his faith in the 758th that they would complete the job with the upmost professionalism and hard work practices.
“The Company Commander, First Sergeant and NCOs will lead the unit and provide subject matter expertise on all matters of construction and ensure the Soldiers perform their tasks to the best of their abilities,” he said.
Escobales stated that clearing and construction tasks are what his unit and Soldiers trained for and the lessons learned will stick with all Soldiers throughout their career.
“This is our fight, so to say – a great opportunity for us to showcase that,” said Escobales. “So, delivering quality product and having quality training…we have a great opportunity here to accomplish that. So, those are my top two priorities.”
As quality is the life blood of the Army Engineer Corps, all involved attested that it took a strong team to plan, coordinate and execute the construction of the first AR ACFT course.
“It's one team, one fight,” said Ingraham. “I look forward to a continued relationship with the Army National Guard and a continued, combined effort from both sides to provide good training for our Soldiers and ensure that our Soldiers are increasing their readiness.”
Although located next to a Florida National Guard Readiness Center, multiple military elements, to include local ROTC and Army Reserve units, will use the track to conduct the new ACFT. The track is currently scheduled to open on 15 May this year.