The 1224th Engineer Support Company of the Guam National Guard was selected as Honor Company for the 14th Engineer Battalion during Rotation 14-08, an exercise in support of the 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team’s pre-deployment training.
According to Lt. Col. Douglas E. Brown, commander, 14th Engineer Battalion, the Guam soldiers stood out for their get it done attitude. “The 1224th Engineer Support Company from Guam is a very dependable and flexible unit. They are always on time and at the right location. As a result of their performance and positive attitude, I selected them to be the Honor Company for my battalion during NTC Rotation 14-08. It was pleasure to have them on the team.”
Approximately 100 soldiers of the 1224th ESC spent nearly three weeks at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, providing horizontal engineering support and force protection, while receiving training collectively on various engineer and support tasks.
“I am very proud of the soldiers. We had the least equipment, but completed the most missions, while pulling our own security—no other engineer company did this,” said Capt. Melvin Pilarca, commander of the 1224 ESC.
“The soldiers were prepared and worked collectively to ensure we completed the missions on time, with no major injuries, sick calls or negligent discharges; no loss of sensitive items and no accidents. Despite the extremely hot and dry conditions, we also had no heat casualties,” said Pilarca.
Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Santos, a 33-year veteran and original charter member of the Guam National Guard, felt that it was good training. “This is the first time that the Engineers participated in this type of exercise and I love it! Because the changing environments and situations present a lot of challenges, the soldiers have had to learn to adapt to get the mission done.”
Santos, a horizontal construction engineer, said they also had to react to random enemy attacks. “This training gave the soldiers the real-world training they needed.”
The 1224th ESC was the only Engineer unit to bring soldiers with engineer skill sets, but they also brought their own security. Specialist Rita Taitano, from Hotel Company, was part of the team to provide security for the soldiers while they were working to perform engineering functions. “This exercise is similar to some of the missions we did while in Afghanistan. It’s good to keep our skills up to par and to learn how to work with different units.”
“The desert training environment allows us to use skills as medics to help the soldiers battle the cold nights, as well as the dry, hot days,” according to Specialist Nelson Soliva. “Basically, it was priceless training for us—we learned to help them stay in the fight.”
After a successful annual training, the 1224th ESC is hoping to continue similar training opportunities to help the unit grow and stay ready. (PR)