News: 17th Fires Brigade receives PT facelift
Story by Sgt. Austan Owen
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - “Up, down, up, down …” This cadence will soon be heard throughout the 17th Fires Brigade area on JBLM North. If the brigade’s soldiers wonder where the new pull-up bars came from, they need to look no further than the engineers across the street.
Soldiers assigned to the 610th Engineer Support Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, have been constructing 10 physical fitness training modules that contain pull-up bars, dip bars and sit-up ramps since June.
The 17th Fires Brigade has been planning for the new PT areas for the past year and coordinated with the 610th ESC to help construct the modules.
Once the materials arrived, the engineers, along with volunteers from 17th Fires Brigade, began work.
Staff Sgt. William Corp, platoon sergeant, 610th ESC, said the project is expected to be complete in August.
Although the soldiers of the 17th Fires Brigade will soon take over the new PT areas, the engineers won’t feel left out. For them, the opportunity to do their job and build a quality project is a reward in itself.
“A lot of the guys were saying that they’ve never gotten to operate any equipment since Advanced Individual Training because they were deployed as a route clearance unit,” said Sgt. Jonathan Hough, team leader for the project, 610th ESC.
For Corp, a Bellaire, Ohio, native, this is an invaluable experience for his engineers as they continue forward on the project. He explained that the junior engineers have been involved in every step of the project from job site planning to time management and equipment usage.
“When they do become noncommissioned officers, they will know how to run everything from the start, so they will be able to handle future projects,” Corp said. “These are perishable skills. If these guys don’t get to use their skills, then they loose them.”
During construction and layout, the engineers had to navigate many potential complications such as underground water, sewage and electrical lines. The engineers were successful in avoiding the obstacles while drilling numerous holes in the ground and setting up the PT areas.
Many of the engineers said they enjoy putting their skills to the test and look forward to more construction projects that utilize their abilities.
“It’s great to be able to put my effort into something like this that will be a permanent structure,” Hough said, a native of San Antonio.
Corp agreed, “We put in solid work. We want to build something that will last, something that these soldiers can come back and see years after its finished and say, ‘I built that.’”
Because of budget cuts and sequestration, the engineers could be seeing an increase in projects, which is something they embrace.
“We are already getting paid, so hopefully getting the chance to put our equipment through its paces … will save the Army money,” Hough said.
Corp added, “As word gets around about what we do and the high quality jobs we complete, hopefully we’ll start getting more and more work.”