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California vacation? Nah. These Idaho soldiers spent most of January in the elements

U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Boise

The U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Boise's 391st Mobile Augmentation Company spent most of January enhancing their combat engineer skills at Fort Irwin in California.
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The U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Boise's 391st Mobile Augmentation Company spent most of January enhancing their combat engineer skills at Fort Irwin in California.

Most people travel to California to enjoy vacation, but the soldiers of the 391st Mobile Augmentation Company went there last month to brave harsh weather with little sleep to train at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.

The U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from Boise spent most of January enhancing their combat engineer skills during the training center’s third rotation of 2019. During the exercise, the 391st put into place inert minefields, wired up inert crater charges, dug vehicle fighting positions, strung up triple-strand concertina wire, created bridges over obstacles with an Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge and fired a Mine Clearing Line Charge rocket.

The 391st Mobile Augmentation Company is a unique army engineer unit designed to shape a battlefield, making it easier for allied units to maneuver. The unit also makes it harder for enemy units to maneuver, or forces them to move to where allied combat units want them to be.

“We’re basically here to set up obstacles. We’re 3rd platoon, counter-mobility,” said Pvt. 1st Class Khaleb Dutton, a combat engineer from the 391st. “So we basically stop the enemy from coming to us, and 1st and 2nd platoon go to the enemy and breach wire obstacles.”

The training center has a massive training area of about 1,000 square miles, with 7,200 live-fire targets controlled by a team of personnel using a sophisticated system operating throughout the center.

“It’s an exercise designed to challenge, and interact units on a brigade or battalion level,” said 1st Lt. Jennifer Richards, an engineer officer with the 391st, and platoon leader for 3rd platoon.

The 391st supported the 1st Squadron 12th Cavalry Regiment, and the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion; both part of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the active duty units, and seeing their components and their capabilities compared to ours,” Richards said. “We work with what we got. And, we get it done.”

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