FORT POLK, La. - The 1192nd Engineer Company, 16th Engineer Brigade, Ohio National Guard is a heavy construction engineer company assigned to the 9th Brigade Engineer Brigade, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team during rotation 15-10 at the Joint Readiness Training Center.
Capt. Nate Anderson, the 1192nd commander, said they are currently in the defense phase of the exercise and part of the brigade main effort. Their primary tasks include building up fighting positions, establishing tank ditches, and creating berm survivability positions.
“We are providing the heavy survivability and counter mobility support for the brigade. It is a very busy time for us right now,” said Anderson.
The company is currently supporting two maneuver battalions and the brigade main position outside of training area Dara Lam, and providing a much needed capability for the defense with new assets for the 9th BEB.
Lt. Col. Michael Biankowski is the commander for the 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion. He said that he is able to conduct earthwork normally impossible to replicate.
“We don’t have the big heavy equipment that the 1192nd Engineer Company has. So for us to have that capability while we’re here, is amazing,” said Biankowski. “It’s a win-win. We get their capability; they are using their skills and developing their skills even further as engineers.”
1st Sgt. Mike Kingery, 1192nd first sergeant, said the company has bulldozers, back hoe loaders, and large excavators for moving the dirt around to build defensive positions. The 96 pieces of equipment took two weeks to prep for movement here to JRTC, and he said it went well considering he only has 81 personnel to do it.
“They [2IBCT] have assisted us every step along the way. It has been very challenging, which is good for us. They are stretching us and taking us out of our comfort zone and it’s allowing us to learn and grow,” said Kingery.
“We’ve challenged them too,” said Biankowski. “They are a little bit out of their comfort zone.”
Sgt. Bryan Miller is a noncommissioned officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2IBCT. His duty at the Brigade Main is perimeter security. Miller appreciates what the engineer company has created to enhance his fighting position.
“Tactically it’s wiser. Because of this defilade, we are a smaller target if the enemy approaches the [entry control point],” said Miller.
Sgt. Josh Young is a maintainer of the heavy equipment who makes sure everything is running smoothly. These pieces of equipment are the lifeblood of the unit and gives the 1192nd it’s sought after capability.
“It’s a new experience for me,” said Young on supporting active duty unit during a large training exercise. “It’s something that I was really looking forward to; I’ve learned a lot of new things.”
Heavy machinery is not easy to maintain and no one knows how valuable operable equipment is than the Soldiers who utilize them.
Sgt. Matthew Fuller is an operator who established berm emplacements for fire support equipment. This gives 2IBCT standoff distance from the enemy and provides defilade for field artillery equipment.
“We are helping those Soldiers by protecting them before the fight,” said Fuller.