FORT McCoy, Wis. –
Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 716th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, based in Summersville, New Hampshire, performed the dual mission of improving community relations and validating mission operations for an upcoming deployment while participating in Combat Support Training Exercise 86-22-02 here Aug. 13, 2022.
For validation, the company commander highlights a list of tasks he would like the company evaluated on prior to deployment. Since the CSTX is a deployment validating exercise, a platoon from the 716th Eng. Vert. Const. Co., led by 1st Lt. Matthew Gendron and noncommissioned officer in charge Staff Sgt. Bronson Durate were evaluated on key collective tasks such as convoy operations, area defense, and troop leading procedures while building new infrastructure on base.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Joseph, a combat engineer and Observer Coach/Trainer (OC/T) assigned to the 1-310th Brigade Engineer Battalion, was identified to certify the unit and selected the tasks to evaluate them on from the list received by the commander.
“The OC/Ts might choose the tasks, however the ultimate decision on whether the unit is trained and ready to deploy is up to the commander, we just provide feedback,” Joseph said.
"CSTX is 100 percent valuable when preparing for deployment because it gives the commander an assessment of where the unit stands," said Durate. "Attending battle assembly once a month gives you bits and pieces of training, but with eighteen straight days of training the commander can really take a good look at his unit and focus on where improvements need to be made."
In addition to deployment validation the engineers worked closely with Fort McCoy's Directorate of Public Works, Troop Project Coordinator Larry Morrow, to identify projects the unit would complete while training. DPW regularly allocates these tasks to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers that attend annual training here. The engineers of the 716th built several new structures on Tactical Training Base Liberty, to replace aging structures on the training site. The unit is also using a horizontal engineer platoon element to improve and repair roads around the training areas.
The project serves as a win-win for the Army Reserve and DPW, Ft. McCoy. "The partnership with DPW is very valuable for the Soldiers," said Durate. "It provides the installation with needed new structures while also sharpening Soldiers skills and providing a significant cost savings."
Participating in this type of joint training highlights the U.S. Army Reserve's emphasis on people by building a culture of cohesive teams that are highly trained, disciplined, and fit.