Fort Bliss welcomes back 842nd Engineer Company
Claudia R. Kennedy,
DoMaD Public Affairs:
About 160 Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 842nd Engineer Company landed at Biggs Army Airfield Sept. 17 after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
As the Soldiers arrived at Fort Bliss, they were greeted by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey P. Marlette, South Dakota Army National Guard assistant adjutant general, along with the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment command group.
“Thank you so much for serving your country,” said Marlette. “We are all very proud of you.”
Soldiers from Spearfish, Belle Fourche and Sturgis, S.D., deployed from Fort Bliss in September last year. This is the second deployment for the 842nd.
Capt. Allen Godsell, company commander, said the unit was primarily responsible for providing horizontal and vertical engineer support at 58 locations in Afghanistan working in conjunction with the German, Norwegian and Polish armies. Personnel from the 842nd were spread out to facilitate six embedded training teams developing basic engineer skills, directly training 343 Afghan National Army engineer soldiers.
“It’s probably the most significant thing we did there,” said Godsell. “We may have conducted missions with them, but training them to do it themselves is really the biggest piece.”
Godsell said this accomplishment allows the Afghan military to have sustainability of its operational infrastructure and gives the Afghans freedom to move around their own country. Additionally, it supports the troop drawdown within Afghanistan by providing their people with the training and knowledge to provide their own construction support.
“Our unit did an outstanding job,” said company 1st Sgt. Marcus Stacey. “Many of the accomplishments we achieved were because we had strong teams that were spread out in many different areas, allowing us to accomplish different missions individually.”
“It’s remarkable how well the platoons functioned outside of the company itself,” Godsell said. “If there’s one accomplishment that stands out, it’s the training that we were able to do beforehand that made the platoon strong enough to complete their missions. If you could see the amount of dirt they moved, how few incidents they had, or how well they conducted themselves, it’s a credit to them and how disciplined they are.”
With a safe return to Fort Bliss, the 842nd will undergo the required demobilization processing. Army standard allows up to 14 days to complete this process. DoMaD has streamlined the process, cutting it down to about 8 to 9 days allowing the Soldier to get home to his or her family sooner. Although the process is shortened, DoMaD ensures 100 percent accountability and satisfaction for all out-processing requirements, so the Soldier and his or her family are cared for with zero deficiencies in their administrative documents.
The 842nd flew home to South Dakota Sept. 27. Godsell is excited to get home to Sturgis where he and his fiancé will marry.
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