857th Engineer Company, Mississippi National Guard, completes training, deploys out of Bliss
Claudia P. Roberto,
DoMaD Public Affairs:
About 150 Army National Guard Soldiers of the 857th Engineer Company from Picayune and Wiggins, Miss., flew out of Fort Bliss Aug. 20 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The company arrived at Fort Bliss July 15 to conduct pre-deployment training. Upon arrival, the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment facilitated their in-processing over a 10-day period. Afterwards, the 5th Armor Brigade conducted their training at McGregor Range over the next month.
Capt. Phillip Moseley, company commander, and 1st Sgt. James K. Jennings, company first sergeant, of the 857th both agreed that the training at Fort Bliss helped strengthen and solidify all the preparation that has been building up for deployment. Jennings said that the fundamentals of dismounted patrolling training event was very beneficial in preparing the company for conducting convoy operations overseas.
“The training has helped the platoon since they’ll be outside the wire a lot going from one forward operating base to another contingency operation post to complete their mission,” said Moseley.
The cumulative training event was very helpful since a lot of the exercises simulate what the company will actually do for site security and interacting with the local nationals, said Moseley.
The primary mission for the 857th is to provide horizontal engineering support to contingency operation posts and forward operating bases across the region. The company will aide in the drawdown by tearing down and constructing new buildings and roadways.
While at McGregor Range, the 857th contributed to improvement of the base camp in several areas. The company helped build a motor pool, improved the fundamentals of patrol training exercise, and restored some of the roads used in training events. Aside from their normal training schedule, the 857th conducted engineering operations to improve their training base camp. These improvements had the added benefit of preparing the unit for their missions in theater.
The company flew out of Biggs Army Airfield to commence their nine-month tour in Afghanistan. For many Soldiers in the company, this is not their first deployment. It is, however, the first deployment for the company.
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