By CHRIS MENEES
The 913th Engineer Co.’s training is being put to the test in Kuwait.
The 164 soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard’s Union City-based 913th Engineer Co. have been busy working in Kuwait since arriving there Oct. 9.
The unit left Union City Aug. 18 for a 12-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and spent over a month training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and in the New Mexico desert before flying to the Middle East.
The unit is part of the 194th Engineer Brigade.
In an email message received this morning, company commander Capt. Jacob Partridge shared an update of the past month’s events in Kuwait.
“The 913th Engineer Co. landed in Kuwait on Oct. 9. That night, we traveled by bus from Kuwait City International Airport to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait,” he told The Messenger.
The following week, the 913th conducted a Relief In Place (RIP) with the 500th Engineer Co., a regular Army unit from Germany.
“During this process, everyone from our unit worked side by side with our counterpart from the 500th Engineer Co. It was during this time that they passed on to us their knowledge gained from their operations in Kuwait over the past year,” Partridge said.
On Oct. 17, the 15th Engineer Battalion and subordinate units conducted a Transfer of Authority (TOA) ceremony with the 230th Engineer Battalion and subordinate units. During the ceremony, the outgoing unit cased its colors — which consisted of rolling up their guidon, the company’s flag, and placing a cover over it.
“It was during this ceremony that the 500th Engineer Co. cased their guidon, signifying the end of their mission. After they cased their guidon, 1st Sgt. (Marty) Ables and I uncased the 913th Engineer Co. guidon, signifying the start of our mission here in Kuwait,” Partridge said.
Since the transfer ceremony, he said the 913th has moved first platoon and elements from headquarters and maintenance platoon to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, where they will be conducting construction operations “for the foreseeable future.”
The 913th also temporarily moved third platoon to Camp Buehring to conduct some additional training before the soldiers start their first construction mission. Second platoon and the majority of maintenance platoon have remained at Camp Arifjan, focusing on repairing the engineer equipment the 913th inherited from the 500th Engineer Co.
“Much of this equipment has been in this theater of operations for almost a decade and has been used hard and passed down from unit to unit,” Partridge said. “I’m afraid that we will be fighting an uphill battle all year trying to keep this equipment running, but we have some great soldiers in our maintenance platoon and I am confident they are up to the task.”
In his email, Partridge proudly shared some personal congratulations involving three of the unit’s soldiers.
“I would like to close by saying welcome to our newest soldier, Spc. Shawn Young, a mechanic who just caught up with the 913th on Oct. 22nd. I would like to congratulate Spc. Timothy Totty for being selected as the 913th’s Soldier of the Month. A special congratulations goes out to Spc. Eric Walker and his wife, Crystal, on the birth of their daughter, Morgan,” he said.
Partridge said it is difficult to express how good it feels for the 913th’s soldiers “to finally be actively engaged in the mission that we have been preparing them for over the last year.”
“It seems like we have been training forever in order to get here and I’m glad to report that all of our platoons have assigned horizontal construction missions and I can’t wait to see how productive they are in the months to come,” he said.
“As I stated earlier, our maintenance platoon will have no shortage of work and our headquarters is heavily engaged in the mission with logistical support and administrative tasks, coordinating training and operations, and providing overall command and control of the fine soldiers of the 913th Engineer Co.”
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 11.4.11