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NEWS | June 14, 2024

Engineer Soldiers build concrete paths at annual training

By Spc. Xavier Chavez Exercise News Day

The scraping from the concrete finishing trowel cuts through the other construction noises as U.S. Army Pfc. Eli Castrejon, a heavy equipment operator with the 801st Engineer Construction Company, smooths any blemishes within the fresh concrete. The hot sun beats down on the wet concrete, compelling the Soldiers of the 801st to move quickly and efficiently. But with that speed, there is no loss of skill or quality as the new concrete pad is smoothed to a refined finish that is free of any pockmarks or crevices.

“I am helping with the concrete operation for the pad and sidewalk. The operation is making the sidewalk ADA-compliant from the existing pad right here all the way down to the building,” said Castrejon.

These improvements to the sidewalk and ramps will ensure that civilians and Soldiers alike will have a safe foundation to walk on and an area to relax around the Wellness Center at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, as well as meet the legal standard for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“First, you start with the grading of everything,” says Castrejon. “Start with your base with dirt, rock, anything like that and compact everything down, lay your rebar, and then you’re ready for the concrete. When you’re pouring, you have a couple of rakers getting everything flat and level, and after all that you start working on the edges, and you finish up the work.”

A lot of time and preparation goes into the area, ensuring that the quality of work is up to the Army standard when the work is finally done. The effort of this work can be seen in the sweat that drips from the arms and brows of the Soldiers as they move lumber, remove stakes, and smooth the concrete flat in the mid-summer heat.

“We have been here for about a week,” said 1st Lt. Sydney Chong, the engineering officer in charge of the 801st Engineer Construction Company. “We are on our second day of working on concrete at the Wellness Center. Yesterday, we filled in an ADA-compliant ramp for the side of the building.”

A look across the side of the building will show the hard work the Soldiers have accomplished with a fresh, smooth, clean concrete ramp running from the sidewalk to the building, offering an area for a leisurely stroll under the shade of the trees.

“Today, we are doing the prep work for what will be stairs within the next year and expanding the front porch for the entrance of the Wellness Center,” said Chong.