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    Empire State engineers, Southern AGs, depart to Middle East

    Empire State engineers, Southern AGs, depart to Middle East

    Photo By Adam Holguin | Soldiers from the 1156th Engineer Company and the 678th Adjutant General Company walk...... read more read more



    Story by Adam Holguin 

    Mobilization and Deployment, DPTMS Fort Bliss

    The 1156th Engineer Company, New York Army National Guard, and the 678th Adjutant General Company, U.S. Army Reserve, departed the Silas. L. Copeland Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group in the early hours of Dec. 1, enroute to missions in the Middle East.

    After completing training with the 5th Armored Brigade, both companies are prepared to conduct missions in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The 1156th Eng. Co. will support Operation Inherent Resolve by undertaking vertical engineering missions as they arise, while the 678th Adjutant General Company will provide human resources, theater gateway and post operations services in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    “Our specific mission is vertical engineer construction missions all throughout the area of operations,” said Capt. John Scott, commander, 1156th Eng. Co.

    This will be the first time the company will deploy, and the engineers from the Empire State absolutely believe the experience of mobilization in New York will benefit them during this mission.

    “Any time a natural disaster hits, the engineers get called up,” Scott said. “Hurricane Irene was a big one, (so was) Super Storm Sandy. Snow storms are big for snow removal and in the spring we get yearly snow melt floods.”

    For those new to the company, the training conducted at McGregor Range, New Mexico, preparing for this mission helped both getting prepared and building the unit cohesion.

    “You could see a huge progression from where we were when we started and where we are now. We definitely learned a lot,” Scott said. “People started getting in that rhythm, mission flow … We came together.”

    Soldiers in the 678th AG Co., are based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, but the unit includes Soldiers from Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, and they also feel prepared for their mission.

    “The training was a great experience. I got to see a lot of high-speed training that we wouldn’t normally get in our annual training – great experience overall,” said 1st Lt. George L. Wiley III, commander, 678th AG Co. “I am very confident in my Soldiers and we’ll take our training downrange and we will ensure that we take care of Soldiers and come back home safely.”

    Two Soldiers in the 1156th Eng. Co., Spc. Chanel Powell, electrician, and Sgt. Thomas Trombly, plumber, are at the opposite ends of their military careers, but chose to reclassify to be a part of this deployment.

    Powell, a 20-year-old former paralegal specialist, became an electrician and took a break from her college education for the opportunity to advance her military career with this deployment.

    “Being here has definitely taught me so many things that I never thought I would learn or need to know. I feel much more prepared for going overseas and experiencing this,” Powell said. “I am getting so many new life skills that without the military I would never ever have had … That is the amazing thing about the military, you get the opportunity to do things you never thought you would or could.”

    On the other end is Trombly, who is 56 with 26 years of experience in the Guard. He was an officer before being decommissioned after a long break of service and rejoining as a noncommissioned officer.

    “It has come full circle for me. I wanted to be an engineer when I originally got commissioned as an officer, but I was commissioned infantry … and here we are 26 years later, I am finally an engineer,” said Trombly, who transferred into the company for this mobilization. “So that is a big thing for me. It’s like my wish list is finally getting checked off.”

    With training complete, morale high and spirits optimistic, the Soldiers of the 1156th Eng. Co. and the 678th AG Co. spent their last hours stateside relaxing, getting in final calls and FaceTime with family and loved ones before boarding the chartered flight.

    “To all the families, thank you for your support because without (you), this wouldn’t be possible,” said 1st Sgt. Richard Berardinelli, first sergeant, 1156th Eng. Co. “One major thing, I hope we come back with everyone we go with, that is our main goal.”



    Date Taken: 12.01.2016
    Date Posted: 12.16.2016 15:29
    Story ID: 218032
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: CHARLOTTE, NC, US
    Hometown: KINGSTON, NY, US

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