ND Guard adjutant general visits 818th Engineer Co. Soldiers
Claudia P. Roberto,
DoMaD Public Affairs:
Maj. Gen. David A. Sprynczynatyk, adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, visited Soldiers of the 818th Engineer Company, who were training at Fort Bliss before deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 818th Engineer Co. is made up of combat engineers from the cities of Hazen and Williston, N.D., specializing in road building and maintenance, mine clearing and other engineer-related operations. The unit is led by Capt. Robert Bohl, commander, and Sgt. Maj. Rashaad Schaffner, noncommissioned officer in charge. For more than half of the company, this is not their first deployment.
Sprynczynatyk’s plane touched down at Biggs Army Airfield June 12. His party included Lt. Col. Jackie Huber, commander of the 164th Engineer Battalion, and Command Sgt. Maj. David Lien, 164th Engineer Bn. command sergeant major. Sprynczynatyk was escorted by Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment, Joint Visitors Bureau, Sgt. 1st Class Tomas Rodriguez.
After a brief meet-and-greet with DoMaD Director Col. Eric T. Judkins and Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel R. Jimenez, Sprynczynatyk and his team proceeded to the Ready First Cafe to have lunch with his Soldiers.
“He always makes an effort to get to know the [junior]-enlisted Soldiers and show he cares,” Spc. Mitchell L. Martinson, 818th Engineer Co. combat engineer, said of Sprynczynatyk.
After lunch, Sprynczynatyk jumped on the bus with his troops on the way to Biggs Park where he held a town hall meeting, allowing Soldiers to address issues or concerns.
“The town hall meeting is very helpful,” said Martinson. “It helps the unit get a better understanding of our concerns on unit funding and other issues.”
About a dozen coins were awarded to Soldiers who showed exemplary performance during their training at Fort Bliss. One of the recipients was Spc. Scott Kraft, armor specialist for the company. Kraft stepped up as supply sergeant working in an E-6 position to go above and beyond expectations. Working with DoMaD, he was responsible in ensuring 100 percent accountability and flawless movement of training equipment back to their home station, and weapons and sensitive items going to theater.
“You folks are the pride of North Dakota,” Sprynczynatyk said during the town hall meeting. “You make people feel good knowing that we have such outstanding young Soldiers that are defending our country. The training on Fort Bliss fine-tuned your skills and got you to the level you need to be for deployment. Thank you for what you do for the people of North Dakota and the country.”
Before returning to Biggs Airfield only a few hours later, Sprynczynatyk and the unit spent some time enjoying some of the many activities Biggs Park has to offer. A popular attraction to beat the triple digit heat and give Soldiers a break from training was the dunking booth, at which Sprynczynatyk threw a football in an attempt to dunk one of his Soldiers. Although he missed, another Soldier ran by and pushed the button, sending the Soldier into the refreshing water.
“It was really nice to have [Sprynczynatyk] come down here,” said Schaffner. “He always wants to be on ground with his Soldiers whether it’s back at our home station or here on Fort Bliss.”
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