181st Engineer Company (Vertical Construction)
Massachusetts Army National Guard
< UNDER CONSTRUCTION >
In September 2012 the 181st Engineer Company, arrived at Forward Operating Base Apache, Afghanistan, under the command of Captain Adam Peterson. The company became part of Task Force Lumberjack, based on the 20th Engineer Battalion (the Engineer headquarters for Regional Command South). The primary missions of the 181st included construction of base camp facilities, retrograde of military supplies as part of the Afghan drawdown, and training of Afghan military engineers. The 181st Engineer Company, as a vertical construction company (carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, etc) exchanged a platoon with the 299th Engineer Company (Horizontal Construction) (dozers, graders, dump trucks, loaders, etc) so that each of the companies would have the capability to execute a full construction mission. The company completed 18 major construction projects with a value in excess of $30 million.
Several soldiers assigned to the 1st Platoon, 181st Engineer Company, Massachusetts National Guard,
and the 2nd Platoon, 229th Engineer Company, Wisconsin National Guard were awarded coins and
certificates of achievements by Col. James R. Crider commanding officer of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team,
Combined Task Force Raider, Third Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Herbert L. Kirkover CSM of 1ABCT,
CTF-R, 3rd ID., at Forward Operating Base Apache, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, May 23, 2013.
By 1st Lt. Jered StokesSmall - 15 November 2012:
Engineers use civilian experience to rebuild dining facility in time for soldiers' Thanksgiving meals
Earlier this summer, a group of Afghan insurgents made their way into the secure confines of Forward Operating Base Frontenac, a small U.S. outpost in southern Afghanistan. The effects of the ensuing attack were significant to both the facilities and the soldiers station at FOB Frontenac.
SFC Laurie Bence of Cranston, RI., 181st Engineer Company, shows progress on the Frontenac
Dining Facility to LTC Jason Kelly and MAJ Brian Hallberg of the 20th Engineers. The project
finished in time to provide Thanksgiving meals to soldiers at FOB Frontenac, who had
been without a dining facility since a Taliban attack on the FOB earlier this summer.
LTC Jason Kelly, commander of the 20th Engineer and Task Force Lumberjack, awards an
Army Achievement Medal to PFC Sara Click, 181st Engineer Company Company, in recognition
of her outstanding work during the construction of the FOB Frontenac Dining Facility
in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
"The 181st soldiers have exercised a wide array of construction skills on the Frontenac Dining Facility," states CPT Adam Peterson, the Commander of the 181st Engineer Company. "As always, the platoon relied on civilian construction expertise and produced a high quality product." Sergeant First Class Laurie Bence of Cranston, RI is leading the way. When Sergeant First Class Bence is not spearheading jobs in Afghanistan, she's a master plumber in Cranston. CPT Peterson speaks highly of SFC Bence as he comments, "SFC Bence matched her expertise in the trade with leadership and management skills that brought the full capability of the platoon to bear." Morale is unbelievably high and improvisation is in full effect. The Soldiers are committed to having the facility up and running before Thanksgiving. "We're going to have our Thanksgiving meal in this building," claims Sergeant First Class Bence. "We will finish the job."
By Sean Teehan, email@example.com, December 09, 2012:
Special connection at Camp Edwards
CAMP EDWARDS - Heads turned toward the front of the function hall on Saturday as a halting, pixilated video feed of figures in military fatigues appeared on the video projector screen.
Near the back of the room, near an 8-foot Christmas tree, Laura Rockwell helped her 3-year-old son, Travis, hold an oversized set of headphones on his head as he sat in front of a laptop and used the microphone to communicate with the images on the monitor through Skype.
"Hi, Daddy," he said.
Logan Rockwell, 7, right, of Mashpee and brother Travis, 3, speak with their dad, Travis,
as family and friends of the 181st Engineer Company gather to celebrate the holidays at
a party hosted by the Family Readiness Group at Massachusetts Military Reservation.
The 181st left Cape Cod for training in September and deployed to Afghanistan the following month. Since the company's departure, the FRG has hosted a potluck dinner, Halloween party and organized a pillow and blanket drive that netted more than 300 blankets and about 170 pillows for soldiers lacking those basic comforts, said Ann Skopek, whose son, Capt. Adam Peterson, commands the 181st.
Ann Skopeck and her husband Richard Peterson speak with their son, Adam Peterson as family
and friends of the 181st Engineer Company gathered to celebrate the holidays at a party
hosted by the Family Readiness Group.
A back room filled with Nerf Barrel Breaks, Battleship Live and Barbie's A Fashion Fairytale Glitterizer Playset resembled a child's dream.
"I think it's important for everybody to know that helping the families is also helping the soldiers," Skopek said.
The party, which took about two months to organize, was the first of the 181st family get-togethers to include a Skype connection with their loved ones overseas, Skopek said.
Inside the function hall, adults and children sat at long tables, assembling Christmas tree ornaments and other yuletide arts and crafts, while others hauled in platters of pasta, meatballs and finger sandwiches.
A Christmas tree and projection screen glow at opposite ends of the room as family and
friends of the 181st Engineer Company gathered to celebrate the holidays at a party
hosted by the Family Readiness Group.
"It's really hard with them gone, so it gives the families something to look forward to," said Sweeney, the FRG's youth coordinator, whose husband, Spc. Ed Sweeney, deployed with the 181st.
In the lobby, Tori DeBeaucort, 17, of Shirley and Darren Woolf, 16, of Randolph at at a table checking people in. "We'd rather them be here, but they're fighting for us," said Woolf, whose brother and father are both deployed. "It's not fun, but we get through it."
Seven year old Gregory O'Connor speaks with his dad, Ryan as family and friends of the
181st Engineer Company gathered to celebrate the holidays at a party hosted by the Family Readiness Group.
"He looks great; he looks healthy," Skopek said, beaming after a brief conversation with her son. "That was great."
Since the group's first potluck in September, the number of attendees has ballooned from about 10 families to a crowded room at the Christmas party, said Terri Iovine, an FRG co-chairwoman.
"With each function we have, the numbers have grown," Iovine said. "It's so fulfilling just to watch these little guys' faces light up."
The group plans to hold more parties where 181st families can get together and share special occasions, Iovine said. The group will likely plan parties for Valentine's Day and later down the road, Easter.
"Pretty soon," she said, "we'll be getting ready for (their) homecoming."
The unit earned the campaign streamer for Afghanistan - Consolidation III.