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Monday, May 2, 2016

Missouri Guard engineers take expertise to Germany

Monday, September 19, 2011

Citizen soldiers with the Missouri National Guard's 276th Engineer Company did concrete work on a helipad in Hohenfels, Germany, over the summer. The work served as the group's annual training requirement and gave individual troops experience interacting in other parts of the world. [Photo by Erin Anderson/Missouri National Guard]
More than 70 citizen soldiers with the 276th Engineer Company, headquartered in Pierce City, spent annual training at Hoensfeld, Germany, this year.

"Our mission was to construct helipads on base," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Forrest, of Halfway, readiness noncommissioned officer for the unit's Springfield-based detachment.

Forrest said the group was to construct nine helipads over three weeks in mid June and early July, but due to near-constant rain, seven helipads were completed, with ground work set for the remaining two.

The work involved ground preparation, setting tie-downs for helicopters and insetting wire mesh. After concrete was poured, cutting lines in concrete and edging the pads completed each mission.

Elsewhere, crews worked at roofing the flat-topped buildings of a Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) site, a mock city set up to look like those found in combat, particularly in Iraq. The site is used for training all deploying soldiers, said Forrest, who works with the Hoensfeld Combat Maneuver Training Center.

"We hadn't done that type of roof before, so it was a good training experience," Forrest said. "They need engineers over there. Others came in after us."

Spc. Erin Anderson, of Monett, was the medic on several job sites during the annual training.

"The soldiers did really well. No one got hurt at all," she said, noting the usual ailments that accompany going to a new environment are inevitable, such as allergies.

While in Germany, the group was able to travel to neighboring cities, an eye-opening experience for some.

"I went to the Dachau concentration camp," said Forrest. "It was a pretty eerie feeling to me, to think of that area housing that many people and what happened there."

"It was definitely a great experience going to another country and seeing different cultures," said Anderson. "It's always beneficial to see how other countries operate."

"It's good for young troops to get out and see the world," said Forrest. "Munich, Nuremburg, you get out and jump on a train. It's a beautiful country."

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