News: Sappers operate at Yakima
Story by Staff Sgt. David Chapman
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers of the 570th and 571st Sapper Companies rumbled across Yakima Training Center, Wash., Oct. 16-26, during a mission readiness exercise in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan in early 2014.
Operation Rugged Overlord put the sapper companies assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., through their paces as they trained and rehearsed route clearance missions, demolitions and firing weapons at the range to develop their team-building skills, all to ensure the unit is certified before deploying.
“Both of these companies are preparing to deploy in the spring of next year and we have set up scenario’s here that are realistic to what they will encounter in Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Brown, commander, 14th Engineer Battalion. The training will be very realistic and important for the region they will be moving to next year.”
During the two-week training, leaders and soldiers shared past experiences, knowledge and skills with new soldiers. For Spc. Kyle Dickens, combat engineer, 571st Sapper Company, seeing the important steps taking place will benefit the unit when it deploys.
“I know a lot of these new guys are getting the TTP’s [tactics, techniques and procedures] in their heads while they are out here,” the native of Belvidere, Ill., said. “I have definitely seen a lot of the guys who have deployed together before, doing a lot of mentoring. The new soldiers are out here proving themselves and working well in their teams.”
The battalion commander hopes the combat engineers, old and new, take all the information and lessons learned. Most importantly he hopes they understand that forming a cohesive team builds confidence in combat.
“When this training is over I’m quite confident that these new teams being put together out here will have trust in their team, leadership and their abilities,” Brown said. “That is extremely important to the completion of their mission,”