Coupling a deployment readiness exercise with an opportunity to support the infrastructure improvements at Fort Bragg, the 20th Engineer Brigade is overseeing the construction program management of the new access control point on Reilly Road. The construction project is an ongoing partnership with the Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works and is one of several concurrent missions being undertaken by the 92nd Engineer Battalion as part of a mission command exercise. This readiness certification event is designed to validate the battalion’s project management over geographically dispersed locations, and to certify the 554th and 526th Engineer Construction Companies in engineering tasks in preparation for a near term deployment. To simulate conditions and challenges the 92nd Engineer Bn. will face overseas in support of Central Command’s Theatre Engineer Brigade, this exercise has deployed units across multiple installations to include Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Bragg, Fort Eustis, Virginia, and Fort Stewart, Georgia, in support of a variety of engineer specific missions.
As the focal point of the exercise at Fort Bragg, the 554th and 526th ECC Soldiers have been working diligently on the Reilly Road ACP to contribute to the installation’s growing infrastructure. The construction’s design and materials have been provided by DPW as a part of a long-standing partnership aimed at increasing installation support while saving money using troop construction that simultaneously serves as training.
“The ACP site is unlike anything anybody in our unit has ever had the chance to experience. This is not something Army units typically get to do. This is an amazing opportunity and we are very happy to be here and be a part of the 20th Engineer Bde. and a part of the Fort Bragg family taking care of this for DPW,” ] Dillon said.
According to Dillon, Soldiers have had a great train up for this deployment with some large-scale projects to include the Bryant Commons Veterans Memorial Walk for the city of Hinesville, the 2nd Brigade, 3rd ID motor pool, which included emplacing a massive concrete pad.
At Fort Bragg they are emplacing conduit for underground infrastructure then transitioning to concrete placement. At the conclusion of the 92nd Engineer Bn.’s certification exercise, the Headquarters Vertical Platoon of the 27th Engineer Battalion will assume control over the project from the 554th ECC and continue the above ground construction of the ACP.
In addition to the joint venture with DPW, Capt. Alex Dillon, commander, 554th ECC, has Soldiers currently engaged in missions in Fort Polk, Louisiana, at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, greatly challenging his unit’s ability to manage forces. The training events have created an incredible learning environment for both mission command and technical engineering.
The 2nd and 3rd platoons of 554th ECC, and 3rd platoon of 530th Clearance Company are currently supporting 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division training at JRTC. Construction platoons are either providing mobility or survivability to the Brigade Combat Team, or they are tasked to support ‘out of sector’ construction projects in support of Joint Task Force 21, a JRTC simulated higher headquarters, such as the recent deconstruction of Forward Operating Base Sword.
Projects like this were identified and prioritized before the JRTC rotation as a part of the 20th Engineer Bde. JRTC Construction Program Management process. The brigade works with JRTC OPSGROUP and the installation to employ rotational unit construction engineers on available infrastructure projects at JRTC. This provides invaluable technical training coupled with significant financial savings to Fort Polk, Louisiana, and exercises the Engineer Bde.’s training objectives for technical program management and project design.
In addition to the outstanding training ongoing at Fort Bragg and Fort Polk, Louisiana, Castle Engineers are hard at work at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The remainder of the 530th CC are executing route clearance lanes in their culminating training exercise. Simultaneously, their battalion headquarters tracks movements from the tactical operations center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. All the while the 526th ECC is simultaneously emplacing a concrete pad in their motor pool and reporting project completion status to the battalion headquarters.
“This exercise replicates the challenges faced by our sister brigade, the 35th Engineer Brigade, currently operating in CENTCOM. The difficulties involved in transporting personnel and equipment and sustaining them across hundreds of miles, integrating with installations and partners you’ve never worked with and stepping into a project mid scope are experiences every Soldier in this formation will face during our deployment. We couldn’t ask for a better scenario,” said, 20th Engineer Bde commander, Col. Marc Hoffmeister.
Both the 20th Engineer Bde. Headquarters and the 92nd Engineer Bn. will deploy to CENTCOM later this year and continue doing what they do best: building Castle Strong.