GARRISON Soldiers with the 188th Engineer Company (Vertical), from Wahpeton, began annual training lending their expertise to a monthlong construction project at the North Dakota National Guard's wet site training area at Douglas Creek southwest of Garrison on Lake Sakakawea June 3.
The unit started work on a 30-by-56-foot brick classroom that will allow N.D. National Guard units training at the 700-acre site access to a new, modern indoor facility.
All aspects of the building's construction are being completed by the 188th, including site preparation, masonry, carpentry, roofing, wiring, plumbing and finishing. Because of the variety of jobs required for the project, three separate two-week rotations of about 35 soldiers will have the opportunity to train on multiple areas of construction while working on the building.
Sgt. Brian Anderson, of Dwight, measures angles to cut siding for the gable end of the classroom project at the North Dakota National Guard’s wet site training area near Garrison June 19, shown in this photo by Staff Sgt. Benjilee Boll.
1st Lt. Lance Meier, of Westhope, 188th executive officer, said that since the mission of the unit is to construct vertical structures when called to active duty, the mission is a perfect fit for the Guardsmen.
"Working on this building provides our soldiers with a chance to practice their mission essential tasks. Our unit mission is to construct vertical structures just like this," he said.
A number of the soldiers work construction full time in their civilian occupations. Sgt. 1st Class Dave Kendall, of Lakewood, Colo., said this brings a wealth of skills and knowledge to the project.
"The soldiers who do this for a living provide great training and mentoring to the soldiers who don't normally do this on a day-to-day basis," he said.
Typically, units from the N.D. National Guard use the Garrison wet site training area for field exercises. A classroom did exist at the site, but had become outdated and worn down over the years. The 188th constructed the new facility from the ground up since the old building had to be torn down.
"That's what's amazing about this project. We went from just a slab at the beginning of June and in just 30 days, there's going to be a complete building there," said Capt. Phil Baker Jr., of Neche, company commander.
The new building will include a classroom to be used for briefings and preparatory work before units go to the field. It will also hold two offices as well as bathroom facilities.
The project is expected to be completed Thursday.