By Honolulu District Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER, HI -- The Honolulu-District-based 565th Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) recently deployed to the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Calif. to complete their mission readiness exercise and final certification in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
“The NTC rotation was a great mission for the 565th team because it involved working with maneuver units, interpreters, civil and military officers - and most importantly, “it was the most realistic training we have received so far,” said 565th Engineer Detachment Commander Maj. William Hannan. Detachment personnel who attended the NTC rotation included Hannan, Detachment Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge SFC Gary Malkin, Mechanical Engineer Jon Hosaka, Electrical Engineer Alan Avery and Civil / Environmental Engineer Jason Blair. Civil Engineer David Nishimura provided reach-back technical support from the Honolulu District during the training.
The overall goal for the NTC training was for the 565th to become qualified on its mission essential tasks, key field force engineer (FFE) equipment, and critical deployment needs such as combat lifesaver training.
“Our critical training needs for deployment were accomplished by integrating with a maneuver unit from the New York Army National Guard - and conducting the training in conditions very similar to our targeted heater of operations” said Hannan.
The NTC exercise mission focus was to provide technical engineer support during exercise simulations based on real-world scenarios.
The specific training objectives during the rotation included becoming proficient in planning, designing and managing construction, conducting engineer reconnaissance (roads and bridges), developing and improving base camps, coordinating engineer support with a host nation and coalition, planning engineer support to protection efforts, certifying all team members as combat lifesavers, conducting USACE reach-back operations, and becoming proficient with FFE equipment.
At the NTC the 565th conducted several training missions that culminated in completion of 11 projects ranging from engineer reconnaissance to base camp planning and design. The team also participated in key brigade working groups and integrated with multiple agencies and stakeholders to include a provincial reconstruction team (PRT), Afghanistan district and provincial officials, civil / military officers, the base defense operations cell, the Forward Operating Base mayor cell and the division engineer.
“The training was very realistic,” said Avery. “The training area was set-up to replicate operating in real-world and included everything from small towns and villages to actual role players speaking local languages that you would encounter while deployed.”
“The NTC Rotation directly improved the 565th’s training readiness and proved we are ready for deployment,” said Hannan.