Story and photo by Andrea Sutherland
In the mud of Brown’s Quarry in Training Area 10, the engines of two 10-ton dump trucks, a skid-steer loader, grader and scoop loader roared to life Feb. 9. At the controls, Soldiers from 46th Engineer Detachment and Airmen from 21st Civil Engineer Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base practiced scooping piles of dirt and rocks, leveling ground and creating and moving stockpiles of dirt.
“We lack the space to do large equipment training at Peterson,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Kyle Anderson, 21st CES. “We saw the opportunity to partner with Fort Carson, specifically the 46th Eng. Det. (The training) meets their requirements as well as our need for space.”
2nd Lt. Stephen Vandervliet, 46th Eng., Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 52nd Eng. Battalion, said six Airmen and 11 Soldiers partnered for the training.
“We’re practicing basic equipment skills, focusing on technique and safety,” he said. “We have companies deploying, and we thought it would be a good training opportunity.”
Vandervliet said that although his men are primarily responsible for mixing, transporting and pouring concrete, training on the construction equipment provided them with well-rounded experience.
For three days, Soldiers and Airmen learned how to operate the construction equipment and practiced leveling ground to build roads, moving piles of dirt and rock and loading dump trucks.
“It’s been beneficial,” said Spc. Shane Campbell, 46th Eng. “I’ve been learning about grading and making roads.”
Campbell said that he had no prior experience with construction, but learning how to operate the equipment would help him become a better Soldier.
“If somebody needs help, I can jump into one of these vehicles and help,” he said.
While Fort Carson was able to provide the training ground, the Airmen shared their knowledge and expertise.
“(The Air Force) guys are a good group,” Campbell said. “It’s good to intermingle. They’re very knowledgeable so they’ve taught us a lot.”
Anderson said this was the first time his men had partnered with Soldiers for training.
“Since we’re working so closely together in deployed environments, it makes sense to train together,” he said.
Anderson said that Airmen in civil engineering units deploy as needed to support Army units, performing functions typically carried out by personnel from Directorate of Public Works in garrison.
“The goal is to have these types of training operations continue,” he said.