Construction team conducts exercise, prepares for deployment

By Pfc. David W. Huddleston, 18th Eng. Bde. Public Affairs
Sept. 9, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 243rd Construction Management Team prepared for their upcoming deployment by conducting their Mission Readiness Exercise Aug. 2-19 at the Hohenfels Training Area.

The 243rd CMT, 18th Engineer Brigade, was assigned to directly support the 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and provided technical engineering and tactical expertise during exercise Task Force Warrior.

When asked about his experience during the MRE, Spc. Jason Villa, a 243rd CMT technical engineer specialist from Scottsdale, Ariz., said a couple of their missions were delayed “because enemy contact came upon us.”

Villa said he now has a better understanding about how to react to contact because of the training he received during the MRE. During one such scenario, his convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device, and he had to employ Combat Lifesaver techniques and perform a casualty evacuation.

Throughout the exercise, 243rd CMT provided facility management by conducting a baseline survey of the installation to prepare for future construction.

Outside of their FOB, the Soldiers provided multiple assessments of roads and of a well that was built for a local village. To do this kind of work the 243rd CMT used the Trimble Automated Integrated Survey Instrument to calculate differences in elevation and the Trimble Global Positioning System.

Pvt. Kenneth Joyner, a 243rd CMT technical engineer specialist from Chicago, Ill., said that during the development of a road survey, their team encountered a potential IED, which then caused a setback in the progression of their mission.

This and other scenarios provided the 243rd CMT with realistic training and gave the Soldiers the knowledge and confidence to adapt to and overcome any obstacle.

“One of the great things we were able to do was practice key leader engagement,” said Maj. Aaron Wolf, 243rd CMT commander of Poynette, Wis.

Wolf said during these engagements, the noncommissioned officers went out with the company commanders and got to experience how to communicate with the scenario role players in the village outside the base.

After these meetings with the locals, unit leaders were then able to return to their Soldiers and create a more comprehensive picture of their battle space, assist the locals in the development of their village and resolve any problems that may have existed.

“I now have a better understanding of what to expect, and I’m more confident,” said Joyner.

Statements such as these prove the MRE was a success for the Soldiers of the 243rd CMT, who said the MRE provided invaluable training and knowledge to all and better prepared them for their upcoming deployment.