Civil Engineering Airman Train in Norway

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Oscar Sanchez
  • 185th ARW/PA
Members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Iowa Air National Guard, Civil Engineering Squadron (CE), deployed for a training mission to the 137th Royal Air Force, at Rygge Air Force Base, Norway. Forty-two members were attached with Army Engineering Officers from the Norwegian Military Academy and Air Force Officers with the Force Protection Squadron in support of Impeccable Glove 2008. The engineering Army Officers were Cadets in their third year of engineering school.

Impeccable Glove started in 1991 working with US Troops all across the United States. Up until 2001, the training was twice a year. It now consists of two weeks of training once a year. The first week consists of construction projects. The second week is force protection training; firearms training, convoy security, and riot control.

The engineering students and members of the 185th ARW worked together constructing numerous projects for the Norwegian military and community. "The cadets have participated in school work up to this point, and this is a good time for them to apply their engineering skills in the field. It is good training and a good time for us to practice English and solve problems" said Maj. Kjetil Schaathun Commander of the Passive Defense Unit, Force Protection Squadron with 137th Royal Air Force Wing. He has been part of operation Impeccable Glove since 1997.

Projects included construction of a new garage for military vehicles and a fence to train military K-9s and keep traffic off the military grounds. A total of eight Army cadets are in charge of these projects.

The pressure was on for 1st Lt. Yngve Brathen with the Norwegian Military Academy to complete the project assigned to him. "You learn logistics and leadership skills while learning to motivate the team. Everyone has different opinions and as a manager you learn to choose the best solution." Working with the more experienced airmen of the 185th helped Brathen practice some of the leadership skills he learned while attending the military academy.

One of the bigger projects was two soccer fields for the Rygge Soccer Club that is over 1,000 members strong. The fields had to be stripped of 400 tons of earth and 2,500 cubic meters of rock. Then sand had to be hauled in for the field to be leveled and rock laid for the sub base. Artificial turf will be applied next spring to complete the project by Norwegian military and civilians.

Lt. Col. William Phillips, Operations Officer for the 185th CE, was the officer in charge of the soccer field. "The biggest challenge is getting rid of the mud due to the all the rain. Our heavy equipment riders are gaining great knowledge on the heavy equipment," said Phillips. The airmen continue working non stop in or out of the rain, trying to make the deadlines for the Norwegian engineering cadets."

While some of the Civil Engineers continued working into the second week, others began their force protection training with the 137th Force Protection Squadron. They took part in firearms training, convoy security, and riot control. CE troops learned to drive convoys in the city and off road.

The obstacles were great due to the steep hills and tree trunks while maneuvering off road. The city was challenging because of the traffic and learning to maneuver the vehicles to keep the convoy together. Each member of a vehicle in the convoy had a specific task, whether it was to keep an eye on the rear and watch for hostile enemies or the commanders keeping the convoy together.

Lt. Col. Gary Prescott, Commander of the 185th CE, said "This is a great cultural exchange where we can learn the differences between us and the Norwegian military, the way we work and our rank structures. This was a great training mission and we learned a lot from each other. The hospitality made it a great deployment."

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