Workhorse Battalion remains tough for annual training

Staff Report, photos courtesy of 201st Engineer Battalion

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Soldiers of the 577th Sapper Company prepare to load a simulated casualty into a LUH-72 Lakota helicopter during annual training at the Harold L. Disney Training Center in Artemus, Ky., May 20, 2014. The engineer company is the Kentucky Guard’s primary emergency response force in extreme Eastern Kentucky. (Photo courtesy of 201st Engineer Battalion)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Soldiers of the 201st Engineer Battalion were out in force for annual training this past May. More than 500 Guardsmen will have put their skills to the test at the conclusion of the training cycle in July. Across Eastern Kentucky, the engineers assembled to continue construction projects at Hidden Valley Training Site in Powell County, Kentucky and the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center out west in Greenville, Kentucky.

“The 201st is known as the Workhorse Battalion,” said Maj. John Barger, operations officer for the battalion. “We strive to conduct tough, realistic training in austere environments, and the 2014 training year has been no exception.”

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Soldiers of the 207th Horizontal Construction Company lay Geotextile Grid during road improvements at Hidden Valley Training Center in Powell County, Ky., May 2014. (Photo courtesy of 201st Engineer Battalion)

At Hidden Valley, road improvements were the primary tasks. Gravel was delivered by the 118th Haul Platoon and laid down by Soldiers with the 207th Horizontal Engineer Company. According to the units, this year’s work opened up hundreds of acres of the site to future training.

“We can’t give enough accolades to our Warhammer and Land Shark (207th and 118th) Soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Spencer,  Training NCO, Det 1 207th and Squad Leader, 3rd Platoon, 207th. “They’ve worked so hard for the last two annual training periods on this road project…closing the loop on this road is one of the biggest successes achieved solely by our units.”

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Soldiers with the 118th Haul Platoon unload gravel for road improvements at Hidden Valley Training Center in Powell County, Ky., May 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of 201st Engineer Battalion)

In Southern Kentucky at the Harold L. Disney Training Site in Artemus, members of the 577th Sapper Company prepared for a scheduled three-week rotation at Fort Polk, Louisiana next year. The combat engineers conducted a variety of training exercises to improve their overall effectiveness as a unit.

“We have finally put it all together and working well as a team,” said Pvt. Gregory Bowen,  a Soldiers new to the unit. “Our teamwork, communications, and even our marksmanship, all of it ties into one. It’s a lot of information to take in and it’s a lot of movements to bring together. It started off really slow, but by the end of it, we all finally came together as a team.”

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Spc. Brian Church practices a combatives move during annual training at Hidden Valley Training Center in Powell County, Ky., May 2014. (Photo courtesy of 201st Engineer Battalion)

Barger said the continued mission of the engineers in Eastern Kentucky to ensure they are ready for any response locally or nationally.

“The 201st has proven its worth in many local & national emergency response missions to include the West Liberty storm damage, Hurricane Katrina, and many other emergency response missions,” he said.  “These projects have increased engineer experience with all manner of vertical & horizontal maintenance & construction, and increased our readiness to provide proficient engineer troop construction capabilities when called to support disaster & emergency response missions in our communities, the commonwealth, and region.”




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