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NEWS | June 9, 2023

U.S. Army Reserve engineers at Transatlantic Castle 23

By Sgt. Rebecca Call Joint Multinational Readiness Center

Soldiers of the U.S. Army Reserve flew from their home states in New England to the state of Bavaria for Transatlantic Castle 23 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) near Hohenfels, Germany.

The 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade began work on construction projects officially on May 20 with training objectives such as building and repairing fighting positions, bunkers, earthen berms, tank ditches, roads for combat vehicles, and wood-frame structures. Units also learned to perform project management and conduct troop leading procedures.

“There is a learning curve dealing with units that are not organic to the area, but it offers units an opportunity to understand real-world deployments, where they are not always with their original units.” Said Sgt. 1st Class Anna Ma, a leader from the JMRC Troop Construction Program.

JMRC prides itself on its operational training environment used by U.S. military as well as multinational partners. The training area is customized for each unit’s needs and requirements for effective training, and with its 1,400 buildings and 300 kilometers of roads and tank trails, JMRC provided an ideal setting for 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Soldiers to sharpen mission-essential skills, which can be carried to any engineering environment.

In the future, these U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers could utilize the skills they honed at JMRC for disaster relief or humanitarian operations, but during TAC 23 they improve the training area where NATO allies and partners build readiness and interoperability in Europe.

Training was overseen by JMRC’s Observer Coach Trainers (OCTs), professionals with specialties in military procedures and engineering. OCTs observe incoming units to guide training and instruct leaders, ensuring exercises are conducted as planned and projects are complete. After each training event, OCTs provide feedback for after-action reviews to improve unit interoperability and future exercises.

“There’s a unique pace here. We are here to support JMRC and ensure projects get done, but also the pace is slow enough we’re able to let inexperienced operators get on the equipment and gain experience.” said 1st Lt. Cole Legg, Platoon Leader of the 338th Engineer Construction Company (ECC).

Sgt. Mitchell White, a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 338th EEC shared the officer’s sentiments stating, “JMRC has been hands on through the whole mission. We have had people to aid and support us 100 percent of the way.”

With the success of Transatlantic Castle 23, JMRC hopes to bring in more U.S. Army Reserve units as well as multinational partners for upcoming TAC events.

Ma stated, “TAC 22 was our crawl phase. TAC 23 has been our walk phase, and for TAC 24, we want to run. We have a huge project that is going to take a lot of effort and will provide great training with everyone working together.”