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    Jack of All Trades: Highlighting Combat Engineering

    Engineers Conduct Explosive Breaching, Route Clearance Training at Camp Blanding

    Photo By Spc. Danielle Sturgill | U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Jami Aguayo, combat engineer assigned to 689th Engineer...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Danielle Sturgill 

    204th Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP BLANDING JOINT TRAINING CENTER, FL. – A loud boom reverberates through the training area, sending sand and debris flying in all directions as a shockwave pulsates through the clearing. One soldier stands out amid a group, smiling excitedly as she reviews the detonation with those around her.

    That soldier is U.S. Army Sgt. Jami Aguayo, a combat engineer assigned to the 689th Engineer Company.

    Aguayo isn't the first in her family to serve; her father and uncle both served in the United States Marine Corps, while her cousin was a medic in the U.S. Army. She joined in 2018, attending basic combat training and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

    Aguayo received a softball scholarship to Keiser University, but her passion for the sport dwindled while in school. When faced with the decision to go into debt to continue her education, her uncle proposed an alternative - joining the U.S. Army Reserve.

    "The recruiters told me how it could work with my schedule, how I can still be there for my daughter and my fiance," she said. "Even long after I'm gone, my daughter is taken care of, her kids are taken care of, and so forth."

    Aguayo was first drawn to the combat engineer field when she listened to her recruiter tell her how he was attached to a combat engineer company while they placed explosives and cleared the way. After learning the mission set and job requirements, she knew she found the perfect Army career.

    "When he said 'cleared the way,' he really had me hooked," she said. "In every war movie I saw after that, I kept hearing 'the engineers'; it was almost like a sign for me."

    Combat engineers provide crucial support to combat forces, including mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability. Working in teams, they carry out essential construction and reconnaissance missions, such as directing the construction of fighting positions and minefield operations. They also conduct breaching operations, operate engineer vehicles, and prepare and install priming and firing systems for demolitions.

    "It's not the job that everyone jumps for, you know, running into stuff that could kill you like explosives," Aguayo said. "Seeing that all of your training can help you be successful and safe at your job is a calming mechanism and a huge confidence boost."

    Leaders from diverse backgrounds with varying learning styles have profoundly impacted Aguayo throughout her career. Their guidance and mentorship have shaped her into the skilled, non-commissioned officer she is today. Aguayo was mainly motivated to ask questions, volunteer, and embrace mistakes as an opportunity for growth and learning.

    "It's not that I want to make my dad or uncle proud. I want to be better than them," said Aguayo. "That's my aspiration for my daughter; I want her to be better than who I am now."

    Aguayo highlighted the versatility that combat engineering provides, welcoming opportunities for fresh perspectives and innovative thinking to resolve complex problems and challenging obstacles.

    "You get to work with demolition, you get to do a little math, you can always attach to a unit doing something completely different and learn their job; You get to trade your gifts and trades and skills," she said.

    When asked about advice for those interested in becoming a combat engineer, she poses the question: "Would you like to be a jack of all trades?"

    "History is pretty cool, and you always hear about the first guy or girl that did it, not the second, not the third, and we're the first ones in," Aguayo said. "We clear everything out and let everybody go. If you want to be the first if you want to be the name that everybody remembers - come be a combat engineer."



    Date Taken: 01.21.2024
    Date Posted: 01.22.2024 15:12
    Story ID: 462211

    Web Views: 357
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