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July 13, 2012

News

Reserve engineers save post construction costs

By Sgt. Lolita E. Brown, 318th Public Affairs Detachment

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.
PHOTO: Members of the 672nd Engineering Company of Missoula, Mont., work on a storage shed for boats at Pine View Campground. Photo by Rob Schuette
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 installation organizations. (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 heavy-equipment operators.

PHOTO: 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
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.

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