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    CALGUARD activates first Brigade Engineer Battalion in the Army National Guard



    Story by Spc. Matthew Dixon 

    79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    CAMP ROBERTS, Calif. – On the very same day that the U.S. Army celebrated 239 years of storied and proud history, a new era began for the California Army National Guard with the activation of the 578th Brigade Engineering Battalion June 14, 2014. Distinguished visitors from across the country converged on the Camp Roberts parade field to witness the activation ceremony for the first Brigade Engineer Battalion in the U.S. Army National Guard as Lt. Col. Zac Delwiche assumed command from Lt. Col. John S. Klinkam.

    “I wanted to come to Camp Roberts, California today to thank you for two different things, first of all I want to thank the California Guardsman for their service,” said Brig. Gen. Roy S. Webb, Deputy Commanding General, Army National Guard, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “I also wanted to come down here and thank you for being the first to step forward and transition to a Brigade Engineer Battalion, the first in the entire National Guard.”

    The Army recognized the need to have a more significant and tailored engineer effort to support the Infantry brigade mission. The equipment and training that these Soldiers bring to the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are invaluable. Route clearing, horizontal construction, and breaching capabilities all have been, and continue to be, crucial in operations overseas.

    “Lt. Col. Klinkam has made such a positive impact, preparing and deploying two companies for combat, and converting the 578th to the first National Guard Brigade Engineering Battalion, as well as improving readiness and training significantly,” said Col. Jeffrey Smiley, Commander of the 79th IBCT, “There is no doubt that John’s impact will leave an enduring legacy here on the engineering community.”

    Smiley also recognized that there is still work to be done, as the BEB will be receiving and utilizing new equipment such as D6 Dozers and High Mobility Engineer Excavators to assist with earth moving capabilities.

    “Selection to battalion command is extremely competitive and only the best are given that opportunity, Lt. Col. Delwiche is unique in that he is being given the opportunity to command his second battalion, his reputation as a tough, aggressive, challenging leader combined with his previous command experience is a perfect fit to lead the future challenges of the 578th,” continued Smiley.

    When it was time for Lt. Col. Delwiche to take the podium and address his new battalion he thanked his predecessor for paving the way for him, he also expressed gratitude to his family and acknowledged that without their unwavering support he would not be in the position he was in.

    As U.S. Army Soldiers and National Guardsmen across the world observed the birthday of America’s oldest fighting force, Delwiche closed the ceremony by shouting “Essayons,” meaning, “Let us try.” And if its history is any indication of the efforts of the future, the 578th will not only try, but also succeed.



    Date Taken: 06.14.2014
    Date Posted: 05.02.2015 13:15
    Story ID: 162042
    Location: CAMP ROBERTS, CA, US 

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