84th Engineers return from Guam
Story by 1st Lt. Jennifer Fulco, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 84th Engineer Battalion cased its colors Aug. 26 and completed their support of U.S. Pacific Fleet operations in Oceania during a change of charge ceremony on Naval Base Guam.
In true Navy tradition, the "Never Daunted" battalion handed off responsibility the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 and redeployed back to their home base of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The battalion completed operations on Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Thailand, Philippines, and remained in support of Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Papua New Guinea.
The 84th began operations Jan. 17 on Camp Covington, Naval Base Guam. For the first time in more than five decades, the Army assumed responsibility for naval requirements in the South Pacific, and proved to be a unique experience.
The battalion provided facility construction support on Guam to both the Navy and Air Force. The 643rd Vertical Engineer Company constructed multiple concrete structures, and the 523rd Engineer Company supported operation Terminal High Altitude Area Defense deployment against the North Korean missile threat. These projects greatly enhanced the technical competencies and management skills of the battalion's soldiers and leaders.
Strategically, the 84th provided the engineering capacity to deploy within 48 hours to respond to a humanitarian crisis. The 523rd Engineer Company formed this force and conducted multiple Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises throughout the deployment. The readiness of this capability was the battalion's number one priority.
Additionally, the battalion executed multiple Construction Civic Activity Detail teams throughout the Pacific. These teams completed construction missions that focused on building strong and lasting community relations.
The team in Kosrae, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, made improvements to local security, gymnasiums, schools, and multiple other small projects. In Palau, they completed a large fire and police station, built a physical fitness center, and completed major road improvements. The team in Majuro, part of the Marshall Islands, constructed a community center named in honor of Staff Sgt. Solomon Sam, the last fallen soldier from the battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and native of Majuro.
"It was incredible," said Lt. Col. Aaron Reisinger, the battalion commander. "We were given an opportunity to make a difference in people's lives throughout the Pacific. We had the resources and structure to develop and enforce our technical standards. We supported the Navy, the Air Force and the Army on Guam alone. What a great experience!"
"It is about being ready to fight or respond to fight," said the commanding officer of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, Commodore Rodney Moore. "That is why you are here. Lt. Col. Reisinger and your team's steadfast leadership and willingness to learn impacted this mission greatly. The exemplary conduct of your soldiers and the Seabees raised the bar of this mission. The 84th Engineer Battalion has built a rich engineer legacy by accomplishing so many tremendous results in your historic time here in the theater of Guam."
The 84th Engineer Battalion's time in Guam left a significant impact felt throughout the Pacific. The battalion is back in Schofield Barracks and has already started training for their next missions.