19th Engineers provide emergency construction support to range operations

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Army Reserve training underway at Fort Knox combined with the inclement weather has taken a toll on some of the range trails and training areas, degrading units’ ability to train, resupply and evacuate military personnel in the area.

To combat the problem, Soldiers from 502nd Multirole Bridging Company and 42nd Clearance Company moved 38 loads, about 400 tons of riprap from the Porter River Road Quarry to areas in the training ranges March 19 and 23 so Range Operations maintenance could conduct emergency trail repairs where needed.

“We’re really helping out the Reserve units,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Thompson, a 42nd CC squad leader. “It’s a mess out there.”

Dubbed Operation Road Warrior, the mission marked an opportunity for 19th and Range Operations to work together to ensure Soldier safety and facilitate future training for all units on Fort Knox, said operation leaders.

At the quarry, a two-Soldier team from 502nd operated a hydraulic excavator, or HYEX, to load the 10-ton dump trucks from 42nd as well as a 20-ton dump truck from Range Operations. Soldiers from 42nd then moved the gravel and riprap about 40 minutes away to dump sites at Training Area 2.

Bulldozer operators from Range Operations used the material to repair trails and roads, and enable training to continue in the area.

Despite dropping temperatures and inclement weather, Soldiers said they were eager to assist Range Operations.

“We’re going to keep going until it’s good,” said Spc. Montana Wilson, a team leader with 502nd and one of the HYEX operators onsite.

Leaders said the mission afforded Soldiers an opportunity to provide an immediate impact at the ranges while saving the installation more than $10,000 in road repairs. It also proved to be a valuable training opportunity for HYEX operators and dump truck drivers to gain real-world experience. n