Engineers crush rock for range improvements at Fort Pickett

Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's Fort Pickett-based 157th Engineer Platoon (Quarry Detachment) crush rock May 24 to be used for range improvement projects around the installation. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Approximately 30 Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett-based 157th Engineer Platoon (Quarry Detachment) produced more than 4,000 tons of rock, stone and crush and run for various range improvements around the installation during their annual training from May 18 to June 1. Soldiers ran the rock crusher for 12 of the 15 days of AT.

“It is hot and dirty work,” said 1st Lt. Bryan Hicks, commander of the platoon. “They are really tired at the end of the day, but they feel a sense of satisfaction that they are doing something that benefits Fort Pickett and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Hicks explained that the more rock the platoon produces the less Fort Pickett has to spend on acquiring it from commercial vendors. The Soldiers also have the training and equipment to conduct site work to prepare for laying out the stone by taking out tree stumps and grading the dirt. Additional stone is stockpiled for use throughout the year.

Three Soldiers from the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion also took part in the training.

The projects included 600 tons of 2.5 inch stone to improve Range 11B, 400 tons of crush and run to improve Range 4Z and 500 tons of 2.5 inch stone to improve a parking lot for the Fort Pickett Department of Natural Resources. The Soldiers also hauled more than 3,000 tons of dirt fill for other range improvements.

About 20 of the Soldiers conducting annual training took part in the platoon’s mission to assist with recovery operations in Vermont after Hurricane Irene in September 2011. Hicks explained that the Vermont mission provided a great deal of training that translated into more efficient operations at Fort Pickett. It also helps prepare the platoon in case they are mobilized for federal active duty to conduct their mission overseas.

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Additional information:
Virginia National Guard Soldiers complete support mission in Vermont