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Moving the earth-mover: 599th Transportation Groups helps relocate engineers company.

Wearing a reflective belt and moving his arms back and forth, Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Vazquez slowly guided a 32-ton scraper vehicle down a ramp attached to the Strong American shipping vessel.

Vazquez and other 29th Engineer Battalion Soldiers assisted the 599th Transportation Group in the download of 109 pieces of equipment belonging to the 82nd Engineer Company (Combat Support Equipment), at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii.

Rick Marsh, 599th Transportation Group Traffic Management Specialist, said the process of offloading and maintaining in-transit visibility of the cargo was a high priority for the 599th as well as the engineers because it was the first step toward the Company's transformation.

The ongoing 29th Eng. Bn. transformation requires the 70-Soldier company and its equipment be restaged from South Korea to Schofield Barracks. The 29th is also expecting to have "Sapper" combat engineer units reassigned to it.

"We're an earth-moving company," Capt. Jonathan Johnston, commander of 82nd Eng. Co., boasted about his unit's equipment.

With its scrapers, bulldozers, small emplacement excavator trucks and other tactical vehicles, the 82nd has the capability to build and improve roads, trails, ranges, airfields, base defenses and fighting positions, and to provide humanitarian and natural disaster relief.

"We do everything. You give [a mission] to us, and we'll figure out a way to do it," said Sgt. Weston Famsworth, acting operations sergeant for 82nd Eng. Co.

Similar to the 84th Eng. Combat Bn. (Heavy) on Schofield Barracks, the 82nd offers another heavy engineer equipment asset to U.S. Army, Hawaii.

"With the dual mission going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, you'll have the availability to split engineer forces," Famsworth said.

To help out with the upcoming 84th ECB deployment to Iraq, eight Soldiers from the 82nd volunteered to be attached to the battalion.

Second Lt. Derek Thomas, a maintenance officer with 29th Eng. Bn., is optimistic of what the engineer company can do for the Oahu community when not deployed.

"It's good to have another asset on the island, so we can get involved in construction projects to improve the island," Thomas said.

The new assignment for 82nd Eng. Co. also brings new training opportunities to 29th Eng. Bn. Soldiers, and vice versa.

"A lot of our mechanics are interested in their equipment and would like to get licensed," Thomas explained. "It should be a good professional experience for me [because] I'll get to work with some equipment that I wouldn't normally get to work with."

"We have a lot of cross training we want to do," Johnston said about the 82nd. "I have different [military occupational specialties] that we train on."

(Editor's note: Robyn Mack, 599th Transportation Group Command Affairs Officer, contributed to this story.)

Sgt. Sean Kimmons

Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
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Author:Kimmons, Sean
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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