News: Christmas comes early for engineers
Story by Sgt. Austan Owen
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — “Work smarter not harder,” is a phrase commonly tossed around. Working hard and smart is nothing new for Army engineers but working smart means having the right tools for the job. Now it appears they have the equipment to accomplish almost anything.
Soldiers with the 22nd Engineer Clearance Company and the 610th Engineer Support Company attended a class on how to operate their new Hydraulic, Electric, Pneumatic, Petroleum Operated Equipment here, June 26.
The HEPPOE system replaces the Hydraulic, Electric, Tool Outfit and the Pneumatic Tool Compressor Outfit. A new power plant utilizes both systems in one unit. The HEPPOE also comes with multiple tool crates containing everything from jackhammers and pneumatic picket pounders to a hydraulic chain saw.
The engineers never know what projects or missions they might be asked to complete, therefore, having the right tools for the job is essential in completing their tasks.
“It’s always good to have the latest and best equipment,” said 2nd Lt. Jonathan Germane, from Hartland, Mich., platoon leader with 610th ESC. “A lot of our stuff is starting to show wear and tear, it’s nice to get tools we know work.”
The 610th ESC has several local construction projects proposed for them in the future including building a road for the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, a helicopter-landing pad and physical training modules for Soldiers to exercise on.
Constructing the road will require the engineers to clear many trees and break up the ground in several areas. The new system allows them to maneuver the power plant into place and run their equipment from one central location instead of using a large backhoe tractor to power the handheld hydraulic equipment. The power plant will also free up the use of the backhoe for other work on the site, Germane said.
For one noncommissioned officer who recently helped build a physical training pit, having the new tools will help them get the job done more efficiently. Having used the older carpentry and pioneer kits, the new equipment will facilitate construction quicker than the old kits that contain handsaws and posthole diggers.
“This is literally like Christmas; this is a hundred steps above a pioneer kit,” said Sgt. Sarah Spencer, East Galesburg, Ill., construction engineer, 610th ESC, “We can always find a use for good tools.”
With the Army facing sequestration and contractors facing furloughs Spencer sees this as an opportunity for the engineers to fill that gap, to complete more construction projects and put the unit’s new equipment through it’s paces.