News: Demo time
Story by Sgt. Dalton Smith
FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. – Forty pounds of cratering charges, 15 pounds of shape charges, 30 pounds of C-4 and many lines of blasting caps were used by the soldiers from the 854th Engineer Company (Forward Support) during a refresher course at the demolition range here, July 18.
“Today we did a lot of different exercises out here,” said Sgt. David Sklodowski, a combat engineer with the 854th Eng. Company. (FS). “We used C-4, shape charges and cratering charges.”
The combat engineer soldiers of the 854th Eng. Company. (FS) received the opportunity to practice their skills at the demolition range from simple preparation of a C-4 explosive to more advanced skills such as neutralizing enemy locations and creating defensive positions.
“It’s not too often our unit gets to use explosives for training,” said Spc. Robert Tighe, of North Plainfield, N.J., a combat engineer with the 854th Eng. Company (FS). “The majority of us have not used any since Basic Training.”
Fort Chaffee’s terrain and heat offers a realistic training environment for the 854th Eng. Company (FS), of Saugerties, N.Y., in case the unit would deploy overseas to Kuwait or Afghanistan.
Operation River Assault is an annual U.S. Army Reserve exercise that focuses on individual, collective and mission-essential training.
Sklodowski, having deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007 as a combat engineer, said he used the same skills being taught on this range for clearance, construction and demolition, while in theater.
“Actually, this is our first time using demolitions in this unit since I’ve been here the past four years,” explains Sklodowski, of Parsippany, N.J. “What my soldiers did today with all of these high explosives was outstanding. I hope they gain the same experience that I have… [and] would like to see battalion plan more of this kind of training.”
Soldiers with the 483rd Engineer Battalion provided range safety and oversight of the soldiers on the range.
“The combat engineer job looked cool and I wanted to blow stuff up and use bulldozers,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Beard, of Kansas City, Mo., with the 483rd Eng. Bn. “I haven’t done a lot of the cool, high-speed operations I originally performed in years past. But now, like today, is all about the Soldier and their training.”
This group of nine combat engineers was the first of two classes who practiced demolitions for the day. The total amount of explosives that were detonated was 250 pounds.
“Though this wasn’t my first choice, becoming a combat engineer has now turned into my best choice,” said Tighe. “I hope to continue in this profession and stay motivated along the way.”
Date Posted:07.21.2013 14:53
Location:FORT CHAFFEE, AR, US
Hometown:BALLSTON SPA, NY, US
Hometown:FORT CHAFFEE, AR, US
Hometown:KANSAS CITY, MO, US
Hometown:NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, US
Hometown:PARSIPPANY, NJ, US
Hometown:SAUGERTIES, NY, US