Don't Fence Me In

88th Readiness Division
Story by Cheryl Phillips

Date: 08.13.2019
Posted: 08.19.2019 10:06
News ID: 336418
Installing Fence

ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Acquiring new skills is something Army Reserve Soldiers do all the time. It’s no different for a six-man team tasked with installing a chain link fence enclosing a 76,000-square-foot area at the Weldon Spring Local Training Area here from Aug. 12 to 16.

The crew is assigned to the 279th Engineer Utilities Detachment, a horizontal and vertical construction unit, part of the 416th Theater Engineer Command. The WSLTA is located about 30 miles west of St. Louis and belongs to the 88th Readiness Division.

When complete, the enclosure will house 20 percent of the unit’s MTOE – or mobilization table of organization and equipment. The rest of its MTOE is stored at the Equipment Concentration Site at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., The area has 40 concrete pads on which to place vehicles, equipment and storage containers.

Spec. Christopher White from Springfield, Ill, volunteered to be a member of the work crew. He joined the Army Reserve to “learn something new” and gain skills to make him more marketable. He works as an apprentice plumber in his civilian career.

The members of the 279th had the opportunity to apply their talents in a real-world environment during a deployment to Iraq from September 2017 to June 2018. While there they constructed a dining facility, dog kennels, a joint tactical operations center and a troop medical clinic.

“I gained a lot of work experience while in Iraq,” said Spec. Eric Schmidt, another member of the fence crew who works for the U.S. Postal Service. “I learned more than I thought I would.” The Springfield, Ill., native joined the Army Reserve to receive money for college which he has put to good use, recently completing an associate’s degree.

Whatever the next major task the unit undertakes, its members will likely gain more skills to increase their readiness for future missions.