News: Small Unit from Guam Places Big Emphasis on Safety
Story by Spc. Jeff Shackelford
FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. —Even when preforming the smallest tasks the vertical engineers, assigned to the 797th Engineer Company, located in Barrigada, Guam, constantly practice safety at Base Camp Schoonover during Combat Support Training Exercise 91.
A native of Dededo, Guam, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Nededog, assigned to the 797th said to ensure the safety of his Soldiers, he makes sure they wear their Advanced Combat Helmet or hard hats, eye protection, ear protection and gloves.
“We make sure they have their uniforms on and wear their sleeves down,” said Nededog. “Basically we use head, shoulders, knees and toes.”
Safety is always on the minds of the 797th’s command and its Soldiers.
“We want everybody to be safe as a company,” said Nededog. “We are a small company and we may not be able to complete our mission if a Soldier gets injured.”
Keeping the worksite clear of trip hazards such as scrap pieces of wood is one of the many things Safety Non-Commissioned Officer, Sgt. Jesse Quinta, of the 797th looks for around the worksite.
“Soldiers using power tools work in teams. One man holds the cord and plugs the tool in when it’s in use, he then unplugs it when the task is complete,” said Quinta who is a native of Guam. “It’s also mandatory to wear ear protection when operating power tools and when working within 10 feet of a generator.”
Hydration has been a challenge because of the excessive heat, with temperatures often reaching beyond triple digits.
“We remind Soldiers to hydrate around every 10 minutes,” said Quinta. “Hydration is easy for Soldiers to overlook.”
Quinta said safety is an important part of CSTX 91 and that all Soldiers need to pay attention to what they are doing at all times.
“If you have to think about whether or not what you’re doing is safe, it’s probably not,” said Quinta.
CSTX 91 is a sustainment-focused training exercise developed for units in Train/Ready year-3 of the 5-year Army Forces Generation model.
With many of the units participating in CSTX 91 becoming available for deployment next year, the remote training environment Fort Hunter Liggett offers rugged terrain, realistic training opportunities and living conditions Soldiers may face while deployed.