News: Building bridges, NC Guard Engineers deploy to Fort Jackson
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan
FORT JACKSON, N.C. - You could say that the National Guard bridges the gap between citizen and Soldier, community and military. However, 10 Soldiers of the North Carolina National Guard’s 878th Engineer Company headquartered in Kings Mountain, N.C., really built a bridge when they deployed here, April 10 - 13.
The engineers brought more than 100 years of combined civilian and military experience completing a bridge over a creek at Legion Lake. Not just mechanical skill with five-ton skid steers, generators, augers, chain saws but with professional wisdom, building among trees and wetlands without destroying either.
“We seek out projects like this, it is good training,” said Army Warrant Officer Timothy Calton, project leader.
The Soldiers turned a corner of the lakeshore into military camp with Humvees, a light military tactical vehicle and trailer. About 1,000 feet of lumber and several tons of concrete are staged next to a nearly 70-foot-long bridge under construction over a small stream feeding the lake.
The bridge is a hub of activity with the screech of saws, thud of hammers and the rumble of gas and diesel engines. The neighbors do not seem to mind, mostly geese, ducks and a chorus of other birds and the occasional runner or fishermen. Their hosts at Fort Jackson seemed impressed though.
“They took us to other sites to see if we could do more next time,” said Calton.
The Guard is an important part of readiness at the fort. While a very large facility with many thousands of Soldiers, most are there for training and not assigned permanently. This creates a critical need for skilled personnel.
“I do not have extra Active Duty Army Soldiers to get things done and we came across an opportunity to partner with the Guard,” said Fort Jackson Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army Lt. Col. Shane Ousey.
“We do over fifty percent of the Basic Combat Training for the Army. The Guard support helps makes us a top notch training facility, among the best in the Army.”
More Photos at the NCNG Flickr Site https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncngpao/sets/72157643822866363/