News: Veteran soldiers of 1313th Engineer Company pass down skills, knowledge
Story by Sgt. Katherine Forbes
EDINBURGH, Ind. - The midmorning humidity hung in the air as soldiers with the 1313th Engineer Company gathered in a gravel parking lot here June 13. The soldiers divided into two teams in clusters by two different large constructions vehicles: a light equipment transporter with a skid steer and a dozer. The two teams of soldiers began their instruction and rehearsals for loading and unloading the equipment as part of their premobilization training for a slated deployment to Afghanistan.
“These are basic common skill tasks that each of the soldiers need to utilize before, after and during a mission,” said Capt. Christopher Eaton, the 1313th commander. “It’s imperative to their training mission to be able to safely, effectively and efficiently load this equipment.”
Although the 1313th deployed in 2009 to Iraq, the purpose of the future mission will be different. Five years ago it was all about building up. Now, not only is the location different, but also the focus.
“Currently what we’re looking to do when we’re deployed would be to tear down forward operating bases, “said Eaton. “We’re helping to consolidate and minimize the footprint of the United States’ forces in Afghanistan.”
However, the emphasis of this day in southern Indiana was about learning and refining engineering skills.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Centers, a squad leader and horizontal construction supervisor for the 1313th. “I need to share my knowledge so they can keep going with it.”
Centers explained how to drive, load and unload the equipment transporter to his soldiers. Throughout the morning he worked alongside them with hands-on instruction. Centers said this is the best part of today for him—teaching soldiers.
Indiana National Guard Spc. Jesse Cochenour, an Iraq veteran, reiterated Centers’ sentiment.
Cochenour, a horizontal construction engineer with the 1313th, who also works for a construction company in the civilian world, said he enjoys the enthusiasm of the junior soldiers as he teaches them to drive and operate the dozer. For him, he said, teaching the new soldiers about what to expect once the older guys get out is important. He wants them to carry on the 1313th tradition.
“It’s being able to work hard and be counted on at all times,” said Cochenour.
Whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan, building up or tearing down, the 1313th Engineer Company soldiers train not only to use the equipment efficiently, but to be the kind of soldiers which America can count on at all times.