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    Engineering a successful live fire exercise in North Macedonia

    Engineering a successful live fire exercise in North Macedonia

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Zane Craig | Combat engineers with the 103rd Engineer Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team,...... read more read more

    KRIVOLAK, North Macedonia – Approximately 30 Soldiers with the 103rd Engineer Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, participated in a live fire exercise June 29 here as part of Decisive Strike 19.

    “We’re here to support the infantry during this live fire exercise,” said 1st Lt. Ronald Wetherson, executive officer and acting commander of A Company, 103rd Engineer Battalion, and a Littlestown, Pa. native. “During a force on force operation, the engineers would be used for breaching and then to set up obstacles and putting in survivability positions for the defensive operations,”

    During the live fire exercise, Wetherson acted as an Observer/Controller (OC), evaluating a junior officer, ensuring safety, and making sure the engineer platoon integrated effectively with the infantry company.

    Wetherson went out to the training area early in the morning to set up smoke pots, which simulate the smoke that would result from mortars being called in during an actual battle.

    During the course of the live fire exercise, the engineers breached an obstacle using a Bangalore, facilitating the infantry advance on a simulated enemy position. When the infantry reached the position, they discovered the enemy was too numerous to assault directly, so they found a defensive position, where the engineers dug concealed survivability position on a hilltop using the High Mobility Engineer Excavator Type I (HMEE-I).

    “This is an important mission for us for several reasons,” said Wetherson. “First, it will keep our validation from Fort Drum current, but globally, its important for Macedonia because they have the potential to join NATO and training with NATO members, conducting joint training demonstrates they have the capability to train with other members on a large scale.”

    Combat engineers serve as essential force multipliers for infantry operations by clearing obstacles, digging defensive positions and building bridges to ensure access to friendly forces and prevent access by enemy forces in the battle space.

    Decisive Strike 19 is a multinational exercise held in the Republic of North Macedonia during June and July 2019, and features the U.S. working closely with six European partners.



    Date Taken: 07.04.2019
    Date Posted: 07.16.2019 15:49
    Story ID: 330335
    Location: NEGOTINO, MK 

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