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    304th Eng. Company returns from Middle East

    304th Eng. Company returns from Middle East

    Photo By Adam Holguin | Soldiers from the 304th Engineer Company walk to the Silas L. Copeland...... read more read more



    Story by Adam Holguin 

    Mobilization and Deployment, DPTMS Fort Bliss

    FORT BLISS, Texas—The 304th Engineer Company, United States Army Reserve unit based out of Lima and Bryan, Ohio, arrived at the Silas L. Copeland Departure/Arrival Control Group Feb. 10 after completing a deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    The vertical construction company was involved in a multitude of deconstruction tasks throughout Afghanistan, as well as some construction missions in Kuwait and Jordan.

    “The deployment went pretty darn well,” said Cpt. Timothy Welbaum, commander, 304th Eng. Company. “Originally we were slated to go to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait and do construction operations there. Five weeks in we ended up landing at Bagram Air Field [Afghanistan] - a little change of plans. We ended up [in Afghanistan] from July through mid-December; we focused on deconstruction operations.”

    The unit was very busy throughout their time in Afghanistan, assisting in the deconstruction operations that focused on reducing the American footprint throughout the Afghanistan area of operations.

    “While we were there, we did over 110 construction directives, we tore down several thousand wooden structures, cities of [barrack huts] at Bagram Air Force Base,” said 1st Lt. Brian Jutila, executive officer, 304th Eng. Company. “Anything that wasn’t permanent had to come down.”

    “One of the very successful things we did in our mission over at Bagram was we had the only Army-trained tension fabric structure deconstruction team in the entire United States Army in Afghanistan,” said Welbaum. “We did operations on nine different Forward Operating Bases, so we were all over the FOBs in Afghanistan.”

    “The [platoon] was certified to take down the large area maintenance structure tents,” Jutila explained the massive size and scope of this specific deconstruction. “[LAMS] are a huge warehouse that is both modular and mobile. So most of the tents that we took down that you could roll a [Boeing] 747 in, were disabled properly, cleaned, packaged up and sent to other areas of operations like Africa, where we are currently doing operations right now.”

    While in Afghanistan the 304th Eng. Company worked under both the International Security Assistance Forces and the U.S. Central Command Material Recovery Element, doing their part to “help shut down or at least get to the point where we are closing the combat operations in Afghanistan and establishing the foundation for Operation Resolute Support,” said Welbaum.

    After a busy deployment spent conducting operations in three countries and in eleven different bases, the 304th Eng. Company is ready for some downtime.

    “The deployment flew by, that is kind of the common theme throughout the company,” said Welbaum, “everyone would agree that although the days were long, the weeks and months flew by.”

    “This deployment has shown that everyone in this company is capable of far exceeding what they thought was the standard level of work,” said Julita, reflecting on the lessons learned. ”No matter how many hours we worked or what missions came up or what was thrown at us, they smiled, they did their jobs and they did it professionally and they did it to the best of their ability.”

    “And at the end of the day, they knew they were making a difference,” Julita concluded.



    Date Taken: 02.11.2015
    Date Posted: 03.03.2015 18:25
    Story ID: 155839
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: BRYAN, OH, US
    Hometown: LIMA, OH, US

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