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Posts made in: '7th Infantry Division' (16) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 16

January 5, 2015 at 6:17pm

JBLM combat engineer Spc. Asa Bingham receives Purple Heart

Spc. Asa Bingham, right, a combat engineer assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade received the Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at JBLM Jan. 5. Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell presented the medal. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda

A combat engineer assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade received the Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 5. Spc. Asa Bingham, 22nd Engineer Clearance Company, suffered traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb blast during deployment to Afghanistan in January 2014.

"I was hit twice - once in December 2013, but at the time I didn't really feel the effects from that first one," said Bingham, a native of Pismo Beach, Calif.
"It was the one January 3rd (2014) that I was medically evacuated, transferred to Germany for treatment before being sent home."

Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander, 7th Infantry Division presented the medal to Bingham. He took the opportunity to thank the soldiers of the 22nd Eng. Clearance Company for their mission success and to talk about U.S. Army current topics.

Bingham was in good spirits after receiving the Purple Heart, and joked in his closing remarks, "I want to thank the ‘Hooligans' (22nd ECC) for the support, getting me through that last deployment ... it was a blast."

Bingham receives treatment for his TBIs and returned to full duty status with the 22nd Eng. Clearance Company.

November 4, 2014 at 12:29pm

Lakewood City Council states Veterans Day Proclamation, honors military residents

Lakewood high school ROTC students added fanfare to the city of Lakewood's annual Veterans Day Proclamation. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Monday, Nov. 3, the Lakewood City Council celebrated Veterans Day early with its annual Veterans Day Proclamation.

The council honored Lt. Gen. William Harrison (Ret.) - Lakewood's mayor emeritus, President of the AUSA's Captain Meriwether Lewis chapter and of the Pierce Military and Business Alliance Carlene Joseph and Rally Point/6 founder and CEO Anne Sprute. They also proclaimed November to be Veterans Appreciation Month.

The ceremony featured members of Clover Park High School and Lakes High School ROTC programs as color guards, and a video presentation honoring veterans. Each service was recognized as veterans were asked to stand as their service anthems were played.

Lakewood Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen spoke about the contributions the honorees have made to the community, and congratulated them for their accomplishments over the course of the year. The council thanked Harrison for his service to the city and congratulated him on the recent dedication of Harrison Hall, the new 7th Infantry Division headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord named in his honor.

Joseph received the AUSA's 2014 Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Medal, an award for members who've significantly contributed to advancing the interests of the AUSA. The council thanked Sprute for her tireless efforts in support of veterans through Rally Point/6, one of the most ambitious veteran support organizations in the state.

>>> Lakewood Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen honors Rally Point/6 CEO Anne Sprute at the Lakewood City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 3. Photo by Kevin Knodell

All the honorees received a city of Lakewood challenge coin. The coin, a military tradition, is meant to symbolize the community's military roots. The young city of Lakewood has deep military roots indeed.

>>> Lt. Gen. William Harrison (Ret.) / photo credit: Kevin Knodell

After leaving the Army, Harrison was one of the leading members of the campaign to incorporate the city in 1996, and was elected Lakewood's first mayor shortly after. Owing to its proximity to JBLM and Camp Murray, Lakewood has a large population of both active-duty military members and their families. Many decide to reside there permanently after leaving the service, with a large veteran population as well.

September 26, 2014 at 10:31am

2nd Inf. Div. Artillery (DIVARTY) re-activated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell of the 7th ID hands Col. Philip Raymond and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Cohen the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery's (DIVARTY) unit colors at the unit's re-activation ceremony Sept. 25. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

"We're going back to the future here, it's like I'm looking for the DeLorean," said Col. Philip Raymond, new commander of the newly re-activated 2nd headquarters, better known as a DIVARTY, overseas training for all artillery units supporting the second infantry division.

The unit's long history spans almost a century. Established in 1917, it saw action in both world wars, provided support for American and Korean troops during the Korean War. After the end of the Korean War, it relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington, where it made its home for decades.

But in November 2006 the Army deactivated its DIVARTYs so that artillery assets could be more easily dispersed in support of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "(Artillery units) have gotten used to deploying as modular units," explained Raymond.

But as American forces began drawing down in Iraq, the Army began re-evaluating its organizational needs. In December 2012 Maj. Gen. James McDonald, commander of the Fires Center of Excellence, submitted a proposal to bring back Field Artillery command headquarters.

In his remarks during the DIVARTY's dedication ceremony, Gen. Maj. Terry Ferrell, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, said that this is part of the process of working to "restructure and re-right our forces" in response to the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's about planning for the future.

"So far, the 2nd Infantry Division's DIVARTY is one of three to be reactivated, with more on the way.

Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, the 7th Infantry Division's public affairs officer, explained that "this helps with standardizing training and procedures for units across the region."

>>> Col. Philip Raymond, incoming commander of the newly re-activated 2nd Infantry Division Artillery (DIVARTY) chats with Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza after the unit's reactivation ceremony Sept. 25.

Raymond and his staff will oversee training for all artillery units in Washington and Alaska. This DIVARTY is regionally oriented toward threats in the Pacific Region. "I am laser focused on Korea," said Raymond.

But, he specified that subordinate artillery battalions that answer to the DIVARTY can be deployed elsewhere should the need arise. Raymond said that in an ever changing security environment, they are training for any contingency that may arise.

But as he comes into his new position here, he's not solely focused on threats overseas, but also wants to spend time getting to know his new home at JBLM. He's a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. He recently completed studying at the U.S. Naval War College, and said he and his family are excited for the change in scenery. "We're eager to meet the community," he said.

September 8, 2014 at 1:29pm

Rising Thunder Stresses Partnership: Japanese and JBLM soldiers train at Yakima

Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The back blast from the howitzer instantly raised the fine dry desert dust. 

A 155 mm shell sliced through the warm morning air toward a target miles away - sort of like the way the first sip of a cold beer feels as it goes down on a hot day.

As silence returned and the dust began to slowly settle, seven soldiers assigned to the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), hurried to reload the big gun.

A minute later, the cannon spoke again.

"It's great to be out here in support of Rising Thunder," commented Capt. Edward Mader, a 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division spokesperson.

"We're here to work with the Japanese in this bilateral training. They are very good soldiers."

>>>  Japanese soldier work fast to reload a 155 mm howitzer during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Rising Thunder is a multi-echelon combined training exercise being conducted for the 21st time at the Yakima Training Center. (YTC).

"The focus of this exercise is to train combined arms in conjunction with maneuver and firepower," pointed out Col. Takashi Goto, a JGSDF commander, in a press release.

The 12th Brigade is one of six active brigades comprising the JCSDF. Approximately 300 Japanese soldiers are engaged in the two-and-a-half-weeks of training at YTC.

"We will perform comprehensive combat power with combined arms units and train bilaterally between Japan and the US to enhance interoperability."

>>> A Mitsubishi built Type 10 Main Battle Tank of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, maneuvers at the Yakima Training Center during Operation Rising Thunder. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Training began Sept. 2 and will conclude on the 22nd.

Working with the Japanese are approximately 450 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The brigade's part is to facilitate urban assault operations, sniper training and supporting fire training.

"We're pleased to be a part of such an important event," said Lt. Col. Jeff Bryson, 4th Battalion's commander.

"The focus of this year's training is interoperability."

>>> A Japanese soldier rests for a moment during an urban building clearing exercise.Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Off in the distance two Mitsubishi built Type 10 main battle tanks rumbled into positions and opened fire on targets in the distance as JGSDF soldiers engaged in a live fire urban assault exercise.

As the Army readjusts both domestically in terms of a reduction in troops while at the same time realigns its focus on Asia and the Pacific, interoperability is another work for partnership.

>>> Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, greets an officer of the 12th Brigade, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, during Operation Rising Thunder, an annual training exercise between American and Japanese forces. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The stability of the Asian-Pacific region is of interest to both Japan and America.

To meet future challenges, the two country's military forces must bilaterally confront logistics support issues while simultaneously increasing combat power.

"This is about a partnership with America," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander, I Corps, as he toured several training sites and talked to JGSDF and American soldiers.

Joining Lanza on the visit last Saturday morning to YTC were Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commander, 7th Infantry Division and Maj. Gen. James Boozer, commander, United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward).

"The training and the building of partnerships being built and the interoperability being practiced are great," said Boozer.

SEE ALSO

I Corps on point in the Pacific

September 6, 2014 at 12:13pm

7th Infantry Division names new headquarters in honor of Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison during ceremony

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison gives a speech at the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Inf. Div.'s new headquarters named in his honor. Harrison is known not only for his military exploits, but his role in the community. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Friday marked the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Harrison Hall is named after retired Lt. Gen. William Harrison. Harrison is well known in both the military and local communities. After leaving the service he became an influential community leader and politician, being elected the first mayor of Lakewood after its incorporation.

"We honor his contributions not only for the military but for the community," said Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, the commander of the 7th Infantry Division as he addressed the audience.

Harrison was born in Pembroke, Kentucky on July 2 1933. He joined the Army in 1954 and was a career officer. His career took him around the world. He served in West Germany, Iran and Vietnam. While in Korea he led two companies of the 7th Infantry Division, and would later be the divisions' commanding general. In the U.S. he served in several staff positions at installations around the country, including I Corps at Fort Lewis. He retired from the Army in 1991.

>>> Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, speaks during the dedication of the Division's new headquarters, Harrison Hall. Harrison Hall is named for Lt. Gen. (ret) William Harrison, who was the ceremony's guest of honor. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

After leaving the military, he had several posts in government and the private sector, serving as an advisor to the governor of California. He eventually co-chaired the Lakewood incorporation effort and was elected to the city's first city council in September 1995. He was elected the city's first mayor one month later.

Since then, he's been an instructor at Pierce College and currently sits on the Pierce College Foundation board. He also serves on the boards of the Lakewood YMCA, USO Puget Sound Area, the Pierce County Mental Health Oversight Board and countless other organizations.

>>> Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commanding general of I Corps, speaks at the dedication of the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commanding general of I Corps, thanked him for his service and ongoing support of the military, mentioning to the audience that Harrison has attended nearly every ceremony they've had.

When it was his turn to speak, Harrison was helped to the podium by his son, Lanza and Ferrell. The old soldier spoke softly into the microphone as he reflected on his service in uniform, and beyond. He specifically addressed those soldiers who were preparing to leave the service. "There truly is life after the Army," he told the crowd.

>>> Canadian Brig. Gen. Carl Turenne shakes hands with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Harrison after the dedication of Harrison Hall, the 7th Infantry Division's new headquarters named in his honor. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

After the ceremony, attendees came up to shake hands and chat with Harrison. One of them was Brig. Gen. Carl Turenne, the Canadian army officer serving as the deputy commander of I Corps.

"It's an honor to be part of this team," he told The Ranger after chatting with Harrison.

Turenne said Harrison's career and his contributions to the military and his community sets an example to soldiers everywhere. "You want to emulate a guy like Lt. Gen. Harrison," Turenne said.

September 4, 2014 at 9:15am

Cool Desk Job: 5-20th Infantry Regiment virtually prepares for anything at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

5-20th Infantry Regiment soldiers work the VBS2, an interactive simulated training software that uses video game graphics to simulate real world environments and training objectives. Photo credit: Sgt. James Bunn

"Enemy troops in the open, three o'clock," a soldier calls out. The gunner scans for the target and in less than a second identifies and engages the enemy combatants.

This was the scenario for soldiers with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team as they conducted Virtual Battlespace 2 training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 28.

The unit organized the training to familiarize soldiers with different terrain, weapons and vehicle procedures before an upcoming live-fire exercise next month at Yakima Training Center.

"The soldiers are getting used to the equipment," said 2nd Lt. John Howell, a platoon leader with 5-20th Inf. Bn. "They're going over fire commands today and learning to work together."

The VBS2 is an interactive simulated training software that uses video game graphics to simulate real world environments and training objectives. Since its introduction in 2007, the system has helped better prepare soldiers and units for deployments and saved the Army millions of dollars according to Jeffery T. Du, a VBS2 facilitator.

This training saves the Army money by allowing units to go through scenarios based on the terrain they will experience at the upcoming exercise without stressing vehicles, equipment or using live ammunition, said Du. The soldiers will be more efficient when they go to the range because they have practiced multiple times in the simulator.

Through an advanced program editing system, VBS2 instructors can tailor training to the needs of individual units based on mission requirements, create realistic battlefield situations and allow Soldiers to operate simulated land, sea, and air vehicles.

"This training allows for a diverse amount of situations that we can encounter with the Stryker," said Spc. Ryan Sweeney, a fire team leader with 5-20th Inf. Bn.

Soldiers focused on marksmanship with mounted weapons, calling for indirect fire, identifying targets and maneuvering through various fighting positions in a simulated Stryker combat vehicle.

The scalable VBS2 system is able to train small teams in urban tactics, entire combat teams in combined arms operations or even squad and platoon offensive, defensive, and patrolling operations.

Leaders can use VBS2 to assist them in developing the organizational skills required to execute successful missions. Soldiers can use the system to learn and validate the unit's tactics, techniques and procedures before any exercise.

 "We have a lot of new soldiers and this is an easy way for them to get a baseline of how to operate in a fire team and build good habits early," said Sweeney.

Although it's a simulation and not the real world, the VBS2 system provides diverse training opportunities for the soldiers of the 5-20th Inf. Bn. and the skills necessary as a modern fighting force said Du.

"I like that we are diversifying our training techniques to match all fronts," said Sweeney. "This system is a good way for us to build up our new training strategies to meet the battlefield of tomorrow." 

Sgt. James J. Bunn is with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

September 2, 2014 at 12:46pm

Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier wins FORSCOM NCO of the Year

From left, Staff Sgt. Peter Kacapyr, FORSCOM NCO of the Year; Cpl. Zachary E. Bandli, Staff Sgt. Luke R. Klein and Spc. Cole Spoon. Photo courtesy of Facebook

A reconnaissance team leader from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and a signal support systems specialist from Fort Carson, Colo., were named U.S. Army Forces Command Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, at a banquet Aug. 28, at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Six NCOs and six soldiers, representing the First Army, I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, the 32nd Air and Missile Defense Command, National Training Center, and Joint Readiness Training Center, competed over four days to earn the title of FORSCOM NCO/Soldier of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Peter Kacapyr, an infantryman and reconnaissance team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, from JBLM, was named 2014 FORSCOM NCO of the Year.

Cpl. Zachery E. Bandli, a signal support systems specialist and retransmission operator assigned to 534th Signal Company, 43rd Special Troops Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Carson, Colo., was named 2014 FORSCOM Soldier of the Year.

Competing alongside FORSCOM competitors were 4 NCOs and 3 Soldiers from the Continental U.S. Army Service Component Command. Staff Sgt. Luke R. Klein, an internment/resettlement NCO with the 339th Military Police Company, 525th MP Battalion, 302nd MP Brigade, currently serving as Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, was named CONUS ASCC NCO of the Year.

Spc. Cole Spoon, a microwave systems operator/installer and a network controller for the Southwest Asia Cyber Center, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, was named CONUS ASCC Soldier of the Year.

All four winners will compete later this year at the Department of the Army NCO/Soldier of the Year competition.

August 25, 2014 at 6:53pm

Arrowhead soldiers and 62nd Airlift Wing airmen move quick at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Soldiers with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, load onto a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 21. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

As they sat inside the troop holding area, you could tell it had been a long two days. Now they were waiting to wrap up the last event to prove that all their practice and hard work had paid off. All they needed to do was load their Stryker vehicles onto C-17 aircraft and it was mission complete.

Soldiers with Company A, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, took part in a combined training exercise with airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 21-22.

The event was designed to test the readiness and quick response of the soldiers as they paired up with airmen.

The two-day event began with a pre-dawn phone call from leaders to their soldiers informing them that it was time to go. They then assembled and checked their equipment. soldiers who stayed in the barracks closed out their rooms and those with vehicles turned them in to the storage lot.

>>> U.S. Army Sgt. Kierra Ivey, an administrative clerk with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, takes part in a readiness training exercise at JBLM, Aug. 21. The event was designed to allow a platoon-sized group of Soldiers to practice going through the steps leading up to a short-notice deployment. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

From there they went through the motions of a short-notification rapid deployment as they readied their gear and moved it to the airfield to be loaded onto an aircraft.

This event was the culmination of months of hard work and rehearsals that began at the ground floor.  

"We started at the basic level," said 2nd Lt. Clayton Shillings, a Houston native and platoon leader with A Co. "Every soldier was qualified on their respective weapon system. After that we went to Yakima (Training Center) for two weeks. We went into team live fire and each team was certified."

The training progressed through squad, platoon and company levels before the soldiers returned to JBLM. They then began their practices for this particular event.

"There was a whole bunch of rehearsals," said Capt. Bradley Goodyear, a York, Pa., native and A Co. commander. "We did rehearsals at the division, brigade, battalion and company levels. We did tabletop exercises; we actually did a terrain model all leading up to this."

The training and drills were all designed to help soldiers and leaders feel confident about the process.

"If the first time you do it is the actual call to go to war, the chances of something happening that you are not prepared for are high, so we do rehearsals to prepare ourselves...to work out any kinks," Goodyear said. "The more and more we do this, the more little things we find that we can tweak to make the whole process more efficient."

The practice beforehand helped the soldiers progress quickly through the two days worth of training events as they continually outperformed set timelines.

"It definitely paid off," Shillings said. "Everything went very smoothly to the point where we had more downtime than we thought we would. What that insures is that every level - including our own - is that we can tell we are ready to go, all our weapons systems will work when we get there, none of our night vision equipment will be broken when we arrive and everything is mission capable and we are able to execute whatever is given to us at the time."

>>> U.S. Army soldiers with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, and airmen with the 62nd Airlift Wing, load a Stryker vehicle on a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at JBLM, Aug. 21. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

Although the training was just a test for the soldiers, it opened their eyes to all the work that goes into getting an infantry unit off the base.

"I've never really been deployed," said Pfc. Erik Kanthak, a Cincinnati native and medic with A Co. "I've been to Yakima a few times and did the (National Training Center) thing. I think it made us more ready, more aware of what we need to do. I think with this training, now we will be able to do it even faster if we need to."

The soldiers weren't the only ones training during the event.

"I think the entire process will go faster now because the civilians and Air Force, those guys had more practice," Shillings said. "They had a lot of hand on training with some news guys that the Air Force was training while we were doing this operation and those guys took a while to get the Strykers tied down exactly right, which was good because they needed the practice, and I think now they've got it down to the point where they can be faster next time and everything will go smoother."

As the soldiers loaded the final Stryker and took their seats on the C-17, they knew that two days of hard work and months of training beforehand had paid off.  They are fast and ready for any mission that comes their way.

Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor is with the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.

>>> A U.S. Air Force airman with the 62nd Airlift Wing guides a Stryker vehicle onto a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at JBLM. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

August 22, 2014 at 3:08pm

5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment cases colors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Lt. Col. Ian Bennett and CMS Michael Murphy, 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, case the unit’s colors during a deployment ceremony this morning. Photo credit: J.M. Simspon

The 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment cased it colors this mornings in a well done ceremony as it prepares for a nine month deployment to the Middle East.

The unit is part of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, which is commanded by Col. Tim Kehoe.

The battalion is no stranger to deployments. 

Over the past seven years, the unit has served multiple tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"This day has been a long time in coming," said Lt. Col. Ian Bennett, the battalion's commander to approximately 300 soldiers assembled in front of him.

"It is time, and we will add another chapter to ‘First Round's' history."

The 5-3 is steeped in tradition and history.

The origin can be traced back to the late 1700s when it was part of the 2nd Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers.  As to its unique motto of "First Round," that was earned at the start of the Civil War when Battery D - the forerunner of the battalion - fired the first shot at the Battle of Bull Run.

The battalion is also credited with beginning the tradition of playing Taps over the grave of a fallen comrade.

"You are well prepared for what lies ahead," commented Brig. Gen. Paul Bontrager, deputy commander, 7th Infantry Division.

"You will do the hard work of our nation, and your efforts do make a difference."

August 20, 2014 at 11:32am

Mud Men of the 617th Engineer Company

Here is the 617th Engineer Company's plan. Courtesy photo

Although it is located 40 miles from where the 617th Engineer Company is based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of the 555th Engineer Brigade, soldiers have been hard at work on the Mud Mountain Dam Road Improvement Project for the last month.

Mud Mountain Dam protects the lower White and Puyallup River valleys from flooding. It is also open to recreational use along the White River (near Mt. Rainier) so that visitors can picnic, hike, bike or even ride horses all in view of the large dam.

The work has involved improving a two-mile stretch of road adjacent to the Mud Mountain Dam near Enumclaw, from adding a ditch to aggregate distribution to road compaction. 

That being said, while the 617th Engineer Company is equipped with the soldiers, capability and the time to handle the Mud Mountain project, it was only through a partnership with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from the Seattle district that the resources and task became available. 

The project, which was planned primarily at the company level and executed at the platoon level, has been underway since July 21 with direct USACE coordination. Throughout the process, there have been approximately 10 to 15 soldiers remaining onsite at a time with organic assets, rotating in and out in weeklong increments.

"This is the first time that we've partnered with the USACE in the two years I've been here," said 1st Lt. Alexander Sackmann, who has been serving as the project manager to ensure that the soldiers have what they need to complete the mission.

"We are a horizontal construction company, so this is crucial to our training and in line with our skills, but we don't always get this sort of opportunity," Sackmann continued. "We cannot do many construction projects around JBLM due to how densely populated it is."

"It was real-world training in open area so we're capable of doing so much more," agreed Staff Sgt. John Thompson.

Best of all, the improvements that have been made will allow for the safe transfer of salmon when they run upstream this season, according to Thompson.

"We want to continue the partnership in the future with the USACE because they have been great to work with throughout the project," Sackmann explained, citing USACE team members Rick Emry, Dan Johnson, Sam Stables and Mike Bartholet, specifically.

The project is on track to end Aug. 22 when the spillway access road improvement is finalized.

SEE ALSO

Major transition for the 555th Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

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