By Capt. Robert Taylor
Idaho Army National Guard
Two companies from the Kansas Army National Guard’s 891st Engineer Battalion are currently completing a rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, to prepare to conduct future real-world missions during unit deployments.
The 242nd Engineer Company, based in Coffeyville, and the 772nd Engineer Mobility Augmentation Company, based in Pittsburgh, are providing engineer support to the Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team May 24 – June 20.
“Supporting another National Guard unit is what the Guard is all about,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony V. Mohatt, commander, Kansas Army National Guard. “Being able to support another Guard unit is something we’re proud to do as the Kansas Army National Guard and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do so this year.”
The 116th CBCT is one of the National Guard’s five armored brigade combat teams and is comprised of more than 3,000 Soldiers, including roughly 1,800 Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers and 1,200 Soldiers serving in battalions from the Montana, Nevada and Oregon Army National Guard. During the rotation, the brigade is supplemented by units from nine additional Army National Guard states and three U.S. Army Reserve units for a total force of more than 4,000 Soldiers.
The 772nd MAC enhances the brigade’s 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion’s mobility assets with its assault, breaching and counter-mobility equipment, including Assault Breacher Vehicles, the Volcano Mine System and M58 Mine Clearing Line Charges. Combat engineers also provide increased obstacle placement capabilities.
The 242nd Engineer Company uses heavy construction equipment to dig anti-vehicle ditches, vehicle fighting positions and other survivability positions. Two of the company’s platoons are currently attached to the 116th BEB’s organic engineer companies.
The rotation gives both companies the opportunity to conduct its wartime missions in the most realistic tactical training environment the Army can provide.
“The training improves our lethality,” said Capt. Kevin Hubbard, 242nd Engineer Company commander. “We’re ready to deploy anywhere in the world.”
Throughout the rotation the 116th CBCT, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, will engage the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in force-on-force simulated combat operations against a near-pear adversary.
“Coming to a NTC rotation allows for individual Soldier development, leader development and increased unit readiness to be ready for our federal mission when called upon,” said Hubbard.
For Spc. Frankie Moore, a 772nd MAC 12B combat engineer, NTC also gives him the chance to spend additional time with his battle buddies.
“I love hanging out with the guys,” Moore said. “The comradery, trust and friendship I have with Soldiers is something I don’t have in the civilian world. I miss it from deployments.”