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August 26, 2011

Training

Engineer unit trains on deployment missions during WAREX

Story & photo by Sgt. Donna Hickman, 84th Training Command Public Affairs

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The 412th Engineer Company (Vertical) of Scranton, Pa., is participating in the 2011 Warrior Exercise held here. The 2011 WAREX presents realistic and challenging scenario-based training for Soldiers and units preparing for deployment. For the 412th, that means surveying, then building a 16-by-80 foot dining facility along with other projects.
PHOTO: Soldiers of the 412th Engineer Company in Scranton, Pa., work on a troop project during the 2011 Warrior Exercise at Fort McCoy. Photo by Donna Hickman
Soldiers of the 412th Engineer Company in Scranton, Pa., work on a troop project during the 2011 Warrior Exercise at Fort McCoy. The 2011 Warrior Exercise presents realistic and challenging scenario-based training for Soldiers and units preparing for deployment.

Although Warrant Officer Candidate Matthew Hunter’s unit has experience in building, they have yet to build a structure of this size. In addition, the 2011 WAREX experience provides his younger Soldiers, especially, familiarity with moving to and then working in a Contingency Operating Location (COL) as they will once in theater.

“We are getting good training oriented toward how to set up a COL. A COL gets them used to working with a variety of units, which is what you would see in theater,” says Hunter, from Hazleton, Pa. He says the major goal for his unit is “100 percent completion of projects.” He expects to see his Soldiers make this happen: “Right now we’re pretty pleased with them. Things are going pretty smooth.”

One of his Soldiers, Sgt. Adam Sweet, a carpentry and masonry specialist, agrees. “There’s a lot of good guys in this unit. They know their stuff,” he says. Sweet is from Lake Winola, Pa.

Hunter also says he feels morale amongst his Soldiers is pretty good. Spc. Ryan Rymdeko from Albrightsville, Pa., echoes this belief when he says, “I know a lot of [our Soldiers] out of basic training are loving it.” He says practice working in Kevlars instead of hard-hats and responding to the mock artillery is especially helpful to the Soldiers who have never before deployed.

According to Staff Sgt. Christopher Shermer, also with the 412th, the 2011 WAREX is “one of the more-realistic situations that I’ve been to — the FOB (Forward Operating Base) actually calling the Medevacs in.” Shermer says the training for the convoys as well as the convoy operations is especially valuable since his unit will do a lot of moving in theater, moving where the projects are — “a couple of weeks here, a couple of months there.”

“It’s been great. Everyone’s really stepping up,” says Sgt. Kevin Patrick Cogan from Reading, Pa. Cogan is a squad leader for the 412th. Cogan’s focus for his Soldiers involves a balance between safety and efficiency. On their third day into their building project, his Soldiers have done some excavating. They now are getting the trusses, walls, and layout ready for the dining facility they are building on Fort McCoy.

More significantly, the 412th Engineer Company’s work is being accomplished while supplying a medic team and a four-to five-man Quick Reaction Force. Cogan says that this training is “one of the best” he’s been involved with. He added, “The 2011 WAREX has enabled my unit to train like they will fight.”

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