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Feb 21

Washington National Guard

Washington Guard engineers wrap up deployment

Posted by Washington National Guard

Commander of the 863rd Engineer Battalion, Lt. Col. James Feaster addresses engineer Soldiers of the 176th En. Co.

Commander of the 863rd Engineer Battalion, Lt. Col. James Feaster addresses engineer soldiers of the 176th Engineer Company
before concluding the End of Tour Awards Ceremony at Camp Buerhing, Kuwait, Dec. 16, 2016. The unit awarded
70 Army Achievement Medals and 52 Army Commendation Medals during the ceremony (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Valentina Aguilar)


Washington Guard engineers wrap up deployment

By Spc. Valentina Aguilar
863rd Engineer Battalion

CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait -- After nearly nine months, with forces spread across three countries, the 176th Engineer Company assigned to Task Force Chaos finalized its deployed engineer mission during its Transfer of Authority Ceremony on Dec. 12, 2016.
    
The 176th Engineer Company of the Washington National Guard arrived in Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in mid-April 2016, under the 863rd Engineer Battalion a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Darien, Ill.

“Our mission on this deployment was to construct all vertical force protection and life support throughout the entire area of operation in Iraq,” said Capt. Brandon Myers, commander, 176th En. Co. and native of Snohomish, Washington.
    
The 176th Engineer Company is a vertical engineer unit which provides construction in the development of base camps and constructs, repairs and maintains facilities and infrastructures.
    
One of their most notable projects during their deployment included the construction of the Multi-National Joint Operations Center at Task Force Al-Taqaddum, which served as a vital resource for coalition and Iraqi Security Forces to monitor the fight against ISIL.


guard-building.jpg

Engineer soldiers of the 176th Engineer Company construct offices from scratch for incoming flight line personnel in a remote
Iraq camp. The 176th En. Co. is a vertical engineer unit which provides construction in the development of base camps and
constructs, repairs and maintains facilities and infrastructures. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Valentina Aguilar)


   
Soldiers in the unit provided engineer capabilities to many projects in nine-separate camps. They also provided engineer force protections and life support of an airfield that served as the re-supply point for the Mosul Offensive.
    
“We did a lot of construction all over Iraq," said Sgt. Theodore D. Martens, carpentry and masonry specialist, 176th En. Co. and native of Seattle. "We built offices and living spaces for the soldiers; we just did a lot of construction overall."
    
During their initial arrival, the engineers faced early challenges in figuring out how to resource material to complete projects in remote locations.    
    
“We overcame our challenges by reclaiming materials from abandoned forward operating bases,” Myers said.
    
Approximately 138 engineer soldiers are assigned to the 176th Engineer Company. The replacement unit is the 1156th Engineer Company of the New York National Guard.  
    
“I am proud of the work my engineer soldiers have done here," Myers said. "We got to complete projects and assist in the mission more so than most conventional forces and they did a great job.”
    
During their nine-month deployment, the 176th Engineer Company received support from their families and members of their communities.
   
“I would like to thank the families for the care packages. No one was left out and everyone was shown some love.” Martens said.
    
The 176th Engineer Company concluded its deployment journey during an official “Welcome Home Ceremony” at Tacoma on Dec. 31, 2016.  A maximum of 90 days was granted to each soldier to reintegrate back into their civilian life.