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    Engineer Battalion turns over their territory

    By Spc. Elvyn Nieves
    113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – After flying proudly for more than a year over Iraqi soil the color's of the 130th Combat Engineer Battalion were cased for redeployment during the transfer of authority ceremony marking the ending of their tour, Oct. 20.

    The 107th Engineer Battalion, Michigan Army National Guard, took over the mission to keep the main supply routes in the Baghdad area clear of improvised explosive devices from the Puerto Rico Army National Guard unit.

    "The casing of the 130th Engineer Battalion colors and the uncasing of the 107th Engineer Battalion colors represent a change of unit and Soldiers only," said Lowell, Mich. native Lt. Col. Dean A. DeGroute, commander of the 107th Eng. Bn. "The mission doesn't change and the military standards are maintained to the highest level."

    The 130th Eng. Bn. completed more than 1,500 combat patrol missions in Iraq, more than 44,000 miles of roads traveled and recon, 16,500 interrogations conducted, 7,300 hours expended in IED search throughout Baghdad and found and deactivated more than 280 IEDs.

    According to, Humacao, Puerto Rico native, Lt. Col. Angelica Reyes, 130th Eng. Bn. commander, the mission was a challenging one.

    "We've never done this type of mission before and this was the biggest challenge for the battalion," said Reyes. "Day by day we worked and focused on the tasks ahead until the day we were officially done with the mission."

    Maj. Ramón Burgos, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, native and battalion sergeant major, said the battalion had a physical challenge because its members needed to endure eight, 10 and 12 hours of continuous combat patrols, seven days a week.

    "We attained 70 percent effectiveness in our missions," Burgos said. "The battalion before us only attained 30 percent. I believe we had established a standard that would be very difficult to emulate by any other battalion."

    Besides numbers and statistics the human factor made the difference.

    The 130th Engineer Battalion was recognized with the Meritorious Unit Citation for performance and actions in Iraq. At the individual level, the battalion received 35 Purple Heart Medals, 26 Bronze Star Medals, 13 Army Commendation Medals with V device for valor, 469 Army Commendation Medals, 12 Combat Medic Badges and 313 Combat Action Badges.

    "I'm very proud of my Soldiers, because each one has accomplished their mission with honor and pride," Reyes said.

    The Soldiers of the 107th Eng. Bn. know they have big shoes to fill but are confident in their soldiering skills.

    "Right now the moral is very high, the tough training is behind us and we're looking forward to complete our mission with everybody going home at the end of the deployment," said Cpt. Scott Etelamaki, a personnel officer with 107th Eng. Bn.

    The 130th Engineer Battalion should arrive in Puerto Rico later this month.



    Date Taken: 10.29.2007
    Date Posted: 10.29.2007 16:19
    Story ID: 13440
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

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