Kentucky Engineers take advantage of extended training period

Photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

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Spc. Cody Dye with the 201st Forward Support Company leads his platoon through a training exercise at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — Soldiers of the 201st Engineer Battalion extended a drill weekend to a whole week of training at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Nov. 1-7, 2014.

In order to focus the rest of the year on collective training events and engineering projects, the battalion travelled to Greenville to knock out annual requirements for Soldiers all in one period. According to Capt. Jonathan Gensley, Administration Officer for the battalion, the schedule not only benefits the units’ training, but the Soldiers’ personal lives as well.

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Pfc. Matthew Clay with the 577th Sapper Company low crawls to place a M18A1 Claymore mine during training at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“This extended drill allows Soldiers time off during major family-focused months of the year,” he said. “Consolidating several training events this week, we don’t drill in December, giving Soldiers more time off to be with their families during the holidays, nor do we drill in June, allowing time off for family summer vacations.”

Soldiers complete a wide variety of annual tasks, including their physical fitness test, personal health assessments and individual weapon qualifications. The week is also a chance to re-evaluate Soldiers in the required Army Warrior Tasks. Every Guardsman is expected to know the basics of Soldiering, and annually they are reminded of the tasks that may fall outside their military job.

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Soldiers of the 201st Engineer Battalion receive instruction on training exercises at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The 201st is made up of units spread out from from Ashland, Kentucky where it is headquartered, to Hazard, Kentucky and Cynthiana, Kentucky. With such a wide reach of units, the collective drill is a unique one for the battalion.

“This is the second year we have done this and simply, this long drill postures the 201st for success throughout the remainder of the year,” said Gensley.

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Soldiers with the 201st Engineer Battalion move through a training exercise at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

For the engineers and the historical use of the battalion, little is unique to the Soldiers of the unit. Land navigation, security patrols and M18A1 Claymore training filled the Soldiers’ busy week.

Maj. John Barger, executive officer for the battalion said the Soldiers face long days during the week, but realize the benefits of their hard work. One important benefit Barger sees is the

“There’s such good interaction amongst the leadership of the unit, from the battalion commander to senior NCOs of subordinate units,” he said. “Its a rare opportunity for a mutual understanding of the commander’s intent and to foster quality leaders for the battalion’s future.”

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Spc. Jonathan Benham with the 577th Sapper Company places a M18A1 Claymore mine during training at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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Spc. Caitlin Viera with the 201st Engineer Battalion holds the battalion colors during a formation at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 4, 2014. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

 

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