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NEWS | June 21, 2022

Engineers hone vertical and horizontal skills

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

Knocking out both vertical and horizontal projects, Soldiers from the 389th Engineer Company are spending their annual training here working on troop special projects.

The Des Moines, Iowa, unit is tackling building re-siding and road maintenance projects from mid to late June 2022 at Camp Courage. The projects were offered by the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works.

Staff Sgt. Ethan Cowell, the unit’s construction squad leader and training non-commissioned officer, explained the building project. He said the Soldiers had to remove and replace rotten boards, add waterproofing material, reframe and add new plywood and cut holes in the eaves to allow more ventilation. Bright green metal siding will replace the dingy gray plywood. An electrician will also add new exterior light fixtures.

“You can tell how much better the temperature is inside once we cut the holes,” Cowell said. Without the ventilation, it was too hot or too cold inside.

The building project was new for many of the Soldiers. “This is a learning project. We are training them properly as we go so we don’t have any mistakes,” Cowell said.

“It’s all new to me,” Pvt. Daniel Johnson said. He joined the Army Reserve in April 2021 to learn engineering skills to give him better opportunities in the civilian world.

On the other end of the experience spectrum is Staff Sgt. Jason Amy, who’s been in the Army Reserve for 10years. He joined the Army Reserve because “my entire family has been in the military. It’s a tradition.”

Amy also joined the Army Reserve for the camaraderie and the opportunity to meet people from other places. He likes the environment where he can “share knowledge and put it all together…working as a team” Amy said.

Although Amy works as an IT Manager for his civilian career, he likes being a 12H engineer supervisor because “it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn and do. It’s a good field. It’s something that will never go away, and I can always use my skills at home.”

Replacing the existing plywood with metal siding is a new job for Amy. “It’s interesting learning a new task,” he said.

Other unit members worked on a road maintenance project. Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Morian, horizontal project non-commissioned officer in charge, outlined the job. A total of 6 inches of gravel will be added, first 3 inches which is compacted, then another 3 inches and more compacting. Then a crown will be built to the center and the sides will be shaved to permit water runoff into ditches that will also be added.

Capt. William Gentzch, company commander, likes coming to Fort McCoy because of the “good training opportunities. There’s lots of room here to use for all of our engineer tasks and individual tasks. We can do a lot here in two weeks,” he said.