JULY 18, 2016, FORT CARSON, Colorado – Interoperability and unit cohesion is an important part of the overall successfulness of the Army’s mission.
In the spirit of increasing cohesiveness, National Guard members from the 842nd Engineer Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Dakota National Guard, partnered with 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during the Iron Strike field training exercise, which has been ongoing at Fort Carson from July 7-23.
The partnership is part of the Associated Units Pilot Program, a new concept to increase readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force. In March, the Army launched the program to establish formal relationships between units in the active Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard components.
Although both the 842nd and 588th are engineer units, each provided unique characteristics to 3rd Brigade’s multi-faceted, full-spectrum fire coordination exercise.
“Our unit focuses mainly on horizontal construction,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bute, motor sergeant, 842nd EN Co. “We have engineers who build roads and structures.”
Spc. Jesse Dupras, combat engineer, Company A, 588th BEB, said, “Our main mission is to support the maneuver units by providing mobility and counter-mobility using various methods. We also have a signal company and military intelligence company that support the brigade’s mission.”
During Iron Strike, the 842nd helped to enhance defensive positions for the maneuver units by using various equipment like bulldozers and front-end loaders.
“Our mission was to support 588th BEB and 3rd ABCT by digging tank ditches and defilades for the Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles,” Bute said. “We are able to do more construction missions because our unit has more construction assets compared to 588th BEB.”
Working and partnering with 3rd ABCT allowed the National Guard Soldiers to experience and be a part of a brigade-level exercise.
“It was a really good experience for our National Guard troops to see how active-duty units operate,” Bute said. “It was also good for us to get more familiar with our own equipment.”
The joint training was mutually beneficial, said 1st Lt. John Lundeen, executive officer, 842nd EN Co.
“We’re one team with one fight,” Lundeen said. “We have the same uniform and the same objectives.”
The leadership of the 588th BEB expressed their appreciation for the partnership with the 842nd EN Co.
“I feel that the 842nd Engineers are a tremendous unit,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Stevens, 588th BEB’s senior noncommissioned officer. “Their technical expertise is far superior than I’ve ever seen. They’re a great contributor to our team.”
3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., continues to enhance readiness in preparation for an upcoming rotation to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, later in August.