36th Engineer Brigade Blew Up a Water Park.

engineer brigade

Once in a while, a demolition job comes along that makes Combat Engineers (known as Sappers) smile. And they claim it was a great training and cost saving exercise. My Chemistry professor would disagree…he knew there are people who just like to blow things up. And the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood is no exception. Members of the 937th Clearance Company, 20th Engineer Battalion likely had a great deal of fun taking down the Water Park at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.

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The water park hadn’t been in use since 2017. For the past few months, they used every skill in the unit to not just blow up the park, but take it apart piece by piece and clean up the mess afterwards. Of course, others were jealous:

Why didn’t the Army…simulate real world conditions of a large scale war where we may need to maneuver in uncommon terrain environments? The whole 101st Airborne Division could have air assaulted into…the park instead of whatever they’re doing right now. And THEN we coulda blown it up.

Reddit user

Jealousy, like I said.

The battalion has been working on the project since July. They had to do calculations for just about everything: what charges to use, the safe distances required, etc. They utilized nearly every job in the unit to complete the project. Even the heavy equipment operators got in on the action when everything was demolished. So yes, there was spectacular training for everyone. Well, everyone except those guys who wanted the 101st Airborne to drop bombs on the water park.

engineer brigade
US Army photo at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area

Having troops do this is saving III Corps and MWR (Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation) a lot of money. Those funds can be turned by MWR into something else that’ll benefit not just the Soldiers and their families, but people in the area. In that case, it’s like paying it forward to, not just our unit, but everyone that lives here…

On top of that, this is a massive training opportunity for the Soldiers in the company. Leaders get training on project management because, at the end of the day, it’s still a construction project. Our equipment operators got a lot of stick time using the machinery and understanding what it takes to achieve this kind of objective where we’ve got to move a significant amount of earth. When we were breaking the concrete, we were using tools that haven’t really been used in a long time because they have a specific application. Our combat engineers get the opportunity to calculate and construct specific charges not often used. So, there was a lot of different training for every occupation in the company…

This project is likely the capstone for the company and a significant one for the battalion this year, in my opinion. This is the largest task that we’ve taken on in a long time and probably one of the most unique things that these Soldiers are going to do or have done. The first day was overwhelming and I don’t think it’s been anytime recently that the whole company has executed a large mission like this. Getting everybody out here with multi-dimensional, multifaceted areas of expertise (is unique). You’ve got the 12B combat engineers focusing on explosive demolition and then you’ve got an earth moving operation that the 12N equipment operators excel at. The Survey and Design section from our Higher Headquarters Company has been assisting with the project from the beginning.

Capt. Jared Whitaker, 937th Clearance Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade (US Army.mil)

And yes, Combat Engineers get to blow things up – for training, you know.

*****

Featured screenshot: Army/Staff Sgt. Daniel Herman

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