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    224th Engineers support community, enhance skills

    224th engineers blades deep for community development

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tyler Meister | Pvt. 1st Class Chiara Roskelley, a horizontal construction engineer with 224th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Amy Elker 

    Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office

    SALEM, Ore. - Many units in the Oregon Army National Guard (ORANG) utilize their two-week annual training (AT) to refresh their skills by participating in training scenarios and exercises. Soldiers with the 224th Engineer Company, however, put their skills to use, helping the community in which they live, work, and serve. From Aug. 1-14, the 224th Engineer Company balanced their time between completing their pre-mobilization tasks for a fall deployment, while also working on engineering projects for the Mid-Willamette Family YMCA in Albany and Camp Rilea in Warrenton.

    Second Lt. Sascha Tudela, platoon leader, 224th Engineer Company, 1249th Engineer Battalion, for the Albany crew, said their mission was to help the YMCA level, cut, and fill an area of their property, so they could build a soccer and baseball field there for future use.

    “It’s asking a lot of the Soldiers right now to finish this project and get ready for pre-mob,” Tudela said, “but they wanted this, so I’m happy we have Soldiers so willing to work and manage both things when it can be very taxing, not only on themselves but also their families.”

    Their first three days alone were a major undertaking, as the engineers worked 12-hour shifts, hauling 1500 cubic feet of material from the site. While some Soldiers worked the site, others worked inside the YMCA completing mandatory training and paperwork to prepare for their mobilization.

    Juggling these tasks with their mission was a bit easier since the engineers arranged to stay each night inside the YMCA. They were able to use their showers and their equipment in the evening for some physical fitness training. “It’s been a great benefit to stay here,” Tudela said.

    Sgt. Jordan Andrecht, team leader, 224th Engineer Company, 1249th Engineer Battalion, said working at the site has been a great experience.

    “It gives the community eyes on what we do,” Andrecht said. “It shows the capabilities we have, not only as of the National Guard but as individual Soldiers. I would like to think the community could be inspired that the Guard isn’t just for emergency relief or natural disaster, but that we’re here to help, even one as simple as a construction project like this.”

    He added that the most rewarding thing he has experienced was having a couple of community members walk up to his team and express their thanks and appreciation. “That’s always cool,” Andrecht said, “getting to see the gratitude from the community.”

    Many of the Soldiers were excited about this mission because it was local, and some of the Soldiers live in the area or have been to that YMCA. “So, they get to say, ‘Hey, I was here; I built this’” Tudela said.

    Another mission Soldiers from the engineering company were tasked with during their annual training was at Camp Rilea, improving a road that did not have a solid foundation. The road is well-used by range control to clear the beach of civilians, keeping them out of harm’s way when the ranges go live.

    Sgt. 1st Class Jason Fitzpatrick, horizontal construction engineer, 224th Engineers, 1249th Engineer Batallion, said Soldiers benefitted from the annual training project.

    “The morale you see from that,” Fitzpatrick said, “the camaraderie that comes from all the Soldiers interacting and completing a project together, there’s nothing else that can bind them together as much as that does.”



    Date Taken: 12.23.2021
    Date Posted: 12.28.2021 12:17
    Story ID: 412014
    Location: SALEM, OR, US 

    Web Views: 86
    Downloads: 1