|By Sgt. Lolita E. Brown, 318th Public Affairs
As the growing number of budget cuts affects the military, Army Reserve
engineers are playing their part in helping the Army save money.
Operation Essayons 2012, held at Fort McCoy from June 9-23, was an
exercise designed for Reserve engineers to develop and sustain technical
skills through training by assisting the installation with the
development and improvement of infrastructure.
Members of the 672nd Engineering
Company of Missoula, Mont., work on a storage shed for boats at
Pine View Campground. The unit trained at Fort McCoy in June to
support Operation Essayons, an engineering exercise that
featured participating units doing troop projects to support
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
More than 400 Soldiers from 15 units were tasked to work on various
construction projects to include building a traffic circle, a pole shed
to store boats at Pine View Campground, rebuilding a Forward Area Arming
and Refueling Point, repaving parking lots for the ranges and
constructing a Tactical Operations Command center for the Staff Sgt.
Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
“Historically, this type of construction at Fort McCoy is provided by
civilian contractors, which costs a lot more money,” said Capt. Jim
Lavelle, plans officer for the Training Coordination Branch of the Fort
McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).
“If we do it through Essayons, Fort McCoy provides the material for the
construction, but Soldiers do all of the labor and the units also
provide their own equipment with the exception of some specialty tools.
It’s a cost-effective way to complete our infrastructure projects.”
As the Army saves money on construction, Soldiers get hands-on training
in military occupational skills.
The Soldiers pitched-in their knowledge and expertise in specialties
ranging from electricians, carpenter masons, plumbers and
Members of the 327th Engineer
Battalion of Onalaska, Wis., work on the new Vehicle Recovery
Site on North Post. (Photo by
Sgt. Lolita E. Brown)
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Malchow, construction supervisor, 327th Engineer
Company Vertical, Onalaska, Wis., stated, “Operation Essayons is an
opportunity for us to demonstrate our engineering skills as they would
be applied worldwide in any theater or situation. It gives us the
opportunity to enhance the skills a Soldier may not be able to conduct
on your normal battle assembly training.”
Other cost-saving factors were provided by serving meals.
When Soldiers attend training at Fort McCoy, meals are usually
coordinated through Troop Issue Subsistence Activity and provided by
civilian food-service operators.
“Under the command and control of the battalion heading Operation
Essayons, we utilize our organic 92G (food service specialist) for all
feeding operations throughout the duration of the exercise,” said 1st
Lt. Fatima D. Gales, company commander for the Forward Support Company,
397th Engineer Battalion, Eau Claire.
With the successful completion of Essayons 2012, Lavelle said the
planning phase to hold Essayons 2013 at Fort McCoy already has begun.