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510th Engineer Company (Sapper)
20th Engineer Battalion

This article appeared on the website of television station KWTX in Waco, Texas. The station covers the area of central Texas where the 510th Engineers and 20th Engineers are stationed. The website is at http://www.kwtx.com/forthood/headlines/5565596.html.

Combat Engineers Do It All

Reporter: By 1LT Kevin Thomas, 20th Engineer Battalion

The 510th Sapper Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, of Fort Hood, TX, recently completed one of numerous missions they have been tasked with since arriving in Iraq in late November.

The 510th Sapper Company, which replaced A/62d Engineer Battalion, also out of Fort Hood, TX, is undertaking the demanding mission of performing vertical construction in and around Baghdad.

Their role is to repair damaged Iraqi infrastructure, perform construction in support of U.S forces, and improve the quality of life on remote bases for U.S and Iraqi Army Soldiers.

After being in country less than a week, Soldiers in 3rd Platoon, 510th Sapper Company were tasked to take on their first crucial test. Their mission entailed the completion of a 4,000 square foot battalion tactical operations center (TOC) and the building of a 4,200 square foot company TOC for Task Force 4-31 Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York. The completion of the battalion and company TOCs allowed each staff section and company operations to move out of the twenty foot shipping containers that they were working out of and give them a larger work area with all the amenities that they need to have a successful operations center. "By doing these types of missions you can tell the difference that you are making for the units that operate out of these smaller patrol bases," said Private First Class Glenn Taylor, a Soldier with 3rd Platoon. "I had no prior construction experience coming into this project, but I was excited to take on this task and see what I could make of it."

Upon arrival at Patrol Base Yusufiyah in Southwest Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day, 3rd Platoon anxiously unpacked their tools, hung up the blue prints, and embarked on what would be day one of a forty-five day construction project. The brunt of the responsibilities however fell upon the team leaders, most of whom had carpentry jobs prior to joining the military. They were given a task based upon their experience, and assumed control of four to seven Soldiers. "This project was a great opportunity to allow junior enlisted to further develop necessary leadership skills," said Sergeant Rick Greene, team leader with 3rd Platoon. "Throughout the project we gave some of our junior enlisted, who had prior carpentry experience before coming into the military, an assigned task and they took charge of it and completed the job with exceptional results." Within two weeks, the battalion TOC was complete and ready to hand over to Task Force 4-31 Infantry. With the rainy season approaching, and a timeline to meet, 3rd Platoon continued to work steadily to finish the company TOC. Three crews started framing the interior and exterior walls as one crew came behind them and nailed them into place.

After the framing of the walls was complete, the arduous task of installing the rafters soon came upon them. Sixty-nine forty-four foot rafters and one week later the rafters were erected and put on top of the frame in order to install the roof and ceiling. From sun up to sun down the crews eagerly completed the ceiling and started installing electrical fixtures and air conditioners. Another team diligently worked simultaneously and installed the insulation, walls, outlets and light switches. As each team finished their assigned section they all contributed to the finishing touches of installing trim and building entrance ramps to the door.

As soon as the keys were turned over, 3rd platoon was on their way back to Camp Liberty to get some much needed rest, knowing that another mission was right around the corner.