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    Texas National Guard engineers serve up smiles in Guatemala

    Texas National Guard engineers serve up smiles in Guatemala

    Photo By Sgt. Danielle Rodrigues | Texas Army National Guard Soldiers from 236th Engineer Company, 111th Engineer...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Maria Mengrone 

    176th Engineer Brigade (36th ID, TXARNG)

    LEWISVILLE, Texas - A group of 68 Texas Army National Guard soldiers from the 236th Engineer Company, 111th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade traveled to Guatemala to provide much-needed engineering improvements to area schools located near Zacapa, Guatemala, May 17-31, 2014.

    “Our mission was to partner with Guatemalan soldiers and community members to construct school facilities at three separate locations,” said Capt. Derek L. Dunham, commander, 236th Engineer Company, 111th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade, and native of Pearland, Texas.

    “The partnership served as valuable training for both U.S. and Guatemalan soldiers, while providing an array of engineer projects to meet the needs of the schools and communities,” said Dunham.

    The two-week deployment training was part of a broader effort known as Beyond the Horizon. Beyond the Horizon 2014 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored endeavor, which is in partnership with U.S. Army South acting as the executive agent overseeing this mission. The primary focus is to couple soldiers with foreign militaries through a spectrum of humanitarian exercises.

    Guatemala is one of three host nations that participate in this joint effort.

    “We received visits from the mayor, as well as a class of engineering students from the college who had assisted in previous rotations. The children, teachers, and local business owners were all great to be around and talk with,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Amanda J. Keith, construction engineer chief for the company.

    Engineer soldiers were assigned to support Task Force Oso, which served some of the most remote and underdeveloped parts of Guatemala. In addition, Texas engineers had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and work alongside the Guatemalan military and local citizens.

    “The morale and support of everyone involved was very high. The local population greeted Soldiers each morning with waves, high-fives, and even hugs,” said Dunham. “Our work and efforts were greatly appreciated, and the entire community made that very clear.”

    Soldiers completed an array of construction improvements to the three designated sites. Some of the highlighted engineering construction tasks included constructing a soccer field and building a playground at one of the locations. Soldiers also worked developing a cooking station with an overhead cover to help prepare meals for local school children.

    “As far as who it benefited, I believe it’s two-fold,” said Sgt. 1st Class Justin S. Lacroix, platoon sergeant with the company. “It helps the Guatemalan people, specifically the children, with a place of safety as well as a place to learn. It also gives the American soldier the opportunity to put their skills and training into action.”



    Date Taken: 07.19.2014
    Date Posted: 07.19.2014 14:04
    Story ID: 136619
    Hometown: PEARLAND, TEXAS, US

    Web Views: 510
    Downloads: 1