Story and photo by Stephen Standifird
Public Affairs Office
Heavy equipment moves dirt around Training Area 244 on Fort Leonard Wood on a daily basis, but for the last month engineers were moving dirt in another area for road repairs.
Engineers with 554th Engineer Battalion have been assisting 58th Transportation Battalion by repairing Training Area 225, a winding 3-mile convoy and driving course used in the Motor Transportation courses on post.
The road requires regular maintenance and upkeep that had not been done in some time, according to Staff Sgt. Andrew Hartman, senior instructor, 58th Trans. Bn. The lack of continued maintenance, continued use and bad weather contributed to damage that made portions of the trail unsafe for training.
554th Eng. Bn. was happy to take on the project since it provided real-world training opportunities for their Soldiers, said Sgt 1st Class Ryan Knoeck, project noncommissioned officer in charge.
“This is a really good opportunity to give back to the installation and also get some training for our Soldiers,” added Capt. Bruce Leuthold, project officer.
The trail repair included multiple low-water crossings and washout drains that required expert skills in spreading materials, grading, crowning and digging v-ditches — all skills the Soldiers working the project don’t get to see or do on a regular basis, Leuthold said.
Sgt. Robert Reiter, project safety NCO, called this 5-week project valuable training for the Soldiers because it gives them a chance for additional time and experience on equipment most don’t get outside of special projects. He also added that working on this project brought a sense of pride to the unit.
“This goes beyond helping the 12N (horizontal Construction engineer) in training,” he said. “We are now contributing to more of the force by helping the 88M train.”
Staff Sgt. Andrew Hartman, senior instructor, 58th Trans. Bn. said the work 554 has done for their training is invaluable.
Having this training area up and running again is “extremely important to the overall success of the Motor Transportation Operator’s course and the success of the future 88M (motor transportation operator) in the Army,” Hartman said.
According to officials at Directorate of Public Works, by allowing 554th Eng. Bn. Soldiers the opportunity to work this project, the installation saved more than $1 million in total costs.
“We love to give back to the installation,” Leuthold said, adding they are ready for the next opportunity to contribute.
The course is expected to be turned back over to 58th Trans. Bn. Friday.