The Fort Hood Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 54, No. 86, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 30, 1996 Page: 3 of 42
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Engineers at work
Story and photos by Judy Stallings
III Corps Public Affairs
While many Army engineer battalions
train to build bridges clear mine fields and
dig tank ditches there’s another type who
are capable of building entire cities. One
such battalion conducted their annual
training on Fort Hood May 11-25.
Three hundred forty-eight soldiers from
the 980th Engineer Battalion a reserve
combat heavy unit traveled from Dallas
San Antonio Austin and surrounding com-
munities to receive valuable training while
improving training sights on post.
A combat heavy engineer unit is unique
according to Lt. Col. Gerald Fontenot
“It’s like a multi-purpose general con-
tractor” Fontenot said. “We have the ca-
pabilities to construct buildings including
electrical work and plumbing.”
The unit is also capable of going into
an undeveloped area and developing a lo-
gistics base complete with roads storage
buildings and structures.
“We can handle just about any type of
construction there is” Fontenot said.
Since the battalion is capable of such
Fort ood and Dallas Bar Associations
State Bar Texas Criminal and Military Law Sections
Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Reserve Officers Association the United States
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A BDM International Company
in-depth construction the Army is able to
save large sums of money by assigning
units like it to handle projects that would
normally have to be contracted out
The 980th Engr Bn is made up of 34
enlisted military occupational specialties
and eight officer specialties. These jobs
include quarry operators generator repair-
men electricians plumbers carpenters
and heavy equipment operators.
The mission of the battalion is to mo-
bilize and deploy to a theater of opera-
tions and provide sustainment to help in-
crease combat effectiveness of units in the
battalion’s area of responsibility.
While here the soldiers upgraded tank
trails at Observation Point Maple and
Trapnell Range constructed a bunker at
the Explosive Ordinance Detachment
Range and installed a concrete headwall
over a culvert at Crittenberger Range.
In addition soldiers were responsible
for two high priority projects. These mis-
sions had a direct impact on training be-
cause the ranges were closed until repairs
could be completed.
These projects included constructing
two helipads on Henson Mountain Range
Soldiers from Co place sandbags on a bunker they constructed for protection at the EOD range.
Reserve unit improves post ranges during AT ’96
and constructing ammunition sheds and
towers at the Clear Creek -16 Rapge.
Many of the reserve soldiers have
similiar civilian jobs and this training went
hand in hand with those jobs according
to Spc. Keith Van Brocklin a finish con-
tractor from Plano Texas.
“(Working in construction) helps a great
deal with this training” Van Brocklin said.
“Certain tricks you learn in the civilian
world can be used here.
“We can also take back with us some
of the things we learn here” he added.
“This training is reinforced by our ci-
vilian jobs” agreed Cpl. Russell Moore
a pressure washer who owns his own com-
pany. “What we learn on the outside re-
ally helps us do our job here and teach
those who don’t do this type of work for a
“We can come in here and not spend as
much time doing the planning and the
preplanning” Moore said. It helps us
do things a lot quicker to abetter stan-
Training like this helps soldiers in re-
serve units remain proficient in their jobs
while helping the Army save money and
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Spc. Christopher Jones oc Co. C smooths cement to cover a grade
over an existing culvert at Crittenberger range.
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Herschel, Sgt. La Donna. The Fort Hood Sentinel (Temple, Tex.), Vol. 54, No. 86, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 30, 1996, newspaper, May 30, 1996; Fort Hood, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth310118/m1/3/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Casey Memorial Library.