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14th Engineer Battalion find home with Strykers

Initiative aims at making brigade combat teams more self-sustaining

2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. Public Affairs

Published: 04:41PM June 26th, 2014

The wind howled at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., blowing dust on everything and everyone.

Mechanics with the 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord worked through the harsh conditions to get a High Mobility Wheeled Vehicle back into operation.

“This is gonna work, right?” said Staff Sgt. Michael Williams, shop foreman with the 14th Engr. Bn., to one of his Soldiers. He had entered the worksite following an inspection of repairs on another vehicle.

“Yeah, Sergeant. It’s gonna work,” the Soldier said.

The 14th Engr. Bn. deployed to the NTC this month to help the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division certify as a regionally aligned and globally deployable brigade.

Fort Irwin is located in the Mojave Desert in southern California, south of the infamous Death Valley. The Lancer Brigade experienced winds of up to 45 knots there for several days.

“Back in Washington we have the rain, here we have the wind,” Williams said.

The 14th Engr. Bn. will become a permanent member of the 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. in August as part of an Army initiative to make Stryker brigades more self-sustaining.

“I think with the addition of the Brigade Engineer Battalion it (will) create an actual battalion that services the engineers; I think it will help them be more effective at their jobs in the long run,” Williams said.

Williams was a member of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from 2007 to 2014.

After the 4th Brigade was inactivated in March 2014, Williams was transferred to the 555th Engr. Bde., which is where he’s been for two months.

He says he looks forward to going back to a Stryker brigade.

“The difference between working on these normal wheeled vehicles versus the Strykers is that it’s actually easier. You have computers that will tell you what is wrong with certain systems of the vehicle; it cuts down on the trouble shooting that you have to do,” said Williams.

“In that aspect, the vehicle spends less time being down because you already know right from the start what needs to be done. So you get in, get it done, and get the vehicle and the customer back into the fight,” Williams said.

The 23rd BEB will be re-activated to support the 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., JBLM’s first Stryker brigade and the oldest in the Army.

The Stryker brigade is organized to use the Stryker vehicle platform, which allows for the quick transport of infantry Soldiers to the battlefield.

“What a Stryker brings to the fight is speed,” said Col. Louis Zeisman, commander of 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.