Kentucky National Guard engineer training improves Boone National Guard Center

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Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

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Kentucky Guardsman Sgt. Michael Gabbard, 207th Engineer Company, 201st Engineer Battalion, operates unit's new 966H wheel loader during a training exercise at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky National Guard combat engineers at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. are doing more than just training on their new equipment.  They are leaving behind a little bit of themselves … and creating a legacy for the organization.

Troops from the 201st and 206thEngineer Battalions are currently conducting an collaborative annual training project that will improve their wartime skill sets and laid the groundwork for future construction at BNGC.

“These projects give us the opportunity to do their road test and make sure they have all the necessary training to be licensed our unit’s equipment,” says Capt.  Jon Gensley, 207thEngineer Co., 201st Engineer Battalion. “The biggest training benefit is we can orchestrate and put all these moving pieces together to execute a mission.”

Kentucky Guardsmen Pvt. John Law, 130th Engineer Support Co., 206th Engineer Battalion gives the hand and arm signal to the dozer operator while Spc. Sarah Setser and Joshua Smith of the 207th Horizontal Engineer Construction Co., 201st Engineer Battalion pushes a pile of rubble into the bucket at a training exercise in Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

One of the unit’s equipment is a new 966H wheel loader that has an auto level for the bucket and air conditioning in the cab.

“The backup camera and the automatic system make our work a lot easier,” says Sgt. Michael Gabbard, who was 207th‘s non-commission officer of the year. “I really like the fact our guys can use this military training to help with getting civilian construction work.”

The training includes correcting drainage and soil erosion problems with an improved culvert outside the gate.  They’re also prepping the land around the entrance for a new lane which will help with safety and security.

“It’s great seeing two battalions working together and everybody has a good moral about our project,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Coldiron, 207th Engineer Company. “I’m really glad my guys are part of this project and their thumb print will be left here on whatever they decide to put here.”

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