201st Engineers accomplish multi-faceted IDT weekend
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Fredrick P. Varney, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind.
– Soldiers from the 201st Engineer Battalion engaged in a versatile three-day inactive duty training (IDT) weekend Nov. 5-7 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
Crew served weapons training highlighted the weekend for these Kentucky Guard Soldiers, but there were multiple other training opportunities made available as well.
“The weapon craft is what saves lives in combat,” said Lt. Col. Jerry L. Morrison, Battalion Commander, 201st Engineer Battalion.
“Our Soldiers are firing the M203 grenade launcher, 50 caliber machine gun, M249 squad automatic weapon, and the M240B machine gun,” he said.
“Basically, any type of weaponry that is available our Soldiers are trying to train on it this weekend.”
The 201st Engineers also focused their training towards tasks involving “Train the Trainer” Courses. These courses included a Construction Leader’s Course, Night Vision Goggle Certification Course, and a Driver’s Licensing Course.
The Engineers also received familiarization training on the use of hand grenades and the proper employment of claymore mines.
Morrison said that a select group of five Soldiers were also receiving specialized training for the 2011 Best Sapper Competition scheduled in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
“Those Soldiers are conducting road marches, day and night land navigation, demolitions training, and poncho- wrap training,” he said.
“I would say those Soldiers have put at least 20 miles on the ground this weekend in preparation for their competition.”
Sgt. 1st Class Derrick C. Spencer, Platoon Sergeant, 577th Sapper Company, said that he believes this training is a step forward to accomplishing the larger goals at hand for the 201st Engineer Battalion.
“Our primary purpose here this weekend is to familiarize our junior-enlisted Soldiers on crew served weapons and prepare them for future deployments down-range,” he said.
“The morale for this weekend has been very high and it has been very rewarding for our Soldiers to have this type of hands-on training.”
Upon conclusion of the IDT weekend, the 201st Engineers were awarded two unit awards presented by Brig. Gen. Joseph L. Culver, Assistant Division Commander, 38th Infantry Division.
Bravo Company, 206th Engineer Company based in Hazard, Ky. was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq. Charlie Company, 206th Engineer Company based in Prestonsburg, Ky., received the Army Superior Unit Award for service in Bosnia.
A change of responsibility ceremony was also conducted for the incoming and outgoing Command Sergeant Majors of the battalion.
Command Sgt. Maj. Paul D. Royster, the outgoing Command Sergeant Major, passed the non-commissioned officer’s sword to incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers.
Command Sgt. Maj. Royster retires after more than 25 years of military service. Most recently, Royster served as the Brigade Operations NCO, 75th Troop Command, and Kentucky Army National Guard.
The 201st Engineer Battalion is comprised of units located in Ashland, Olive Hill, Cynthiana, Hazard, Jackson, Prestonsburg and Pikeville.
“This has been a very good multi-echelon weekend, not only at the individual Soldier level but all the way up to the battalion staff level as well, “Morrison said.