Building a history: 142nd Engineer Battalion constructs castle as tribute
Story by Spc. Blanka Stratford
13th COSCOM Public Affairs
With its transfer of authority having taken place March 5 and with its redeployment orders ready at hand, the 142nd Engineer Battalion, a National Guard unit based out of Fargo, N.D., is leaving its legacy in the shape of a red castle.
The castle, built by the battalion's Charlie Company, stands in the middle of a circle at the main road intersection of LSA Anaconda, Iraq, and is distinguished as a symbol of the hard work and accomplishments that the 142nd has attained through almost one year deployed to Iraq.
"As a whole, the battalion has completed over 700 missions for LSA Anaconda, Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), and Task Force Neighborhood," said Capt. Wayne Schlangen, 142nd Company C commander. "Company C itself has finished approximately 280 of those missions."
The 142nd was mobilized Jan. 24, 2003 and has been in country since April 27. It is divided into three companies, each with separate missions assigned at battalion level. Company A worked with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Ar Ramadi, central Iraq, whereas Company B was involved in tasks around the Baghdad area of operations, and Company C worked at LSA Anaconda.
According to the 142nd Engineer Battalion Web Site located on www.globalsecurity.org, the battalion's mission is to increase the combat effectiveness of division, corps and theater Army forces by accomplishing general engineering tasks and limited mobility, counter mobility, and survivability tasks. The unit is also tasked to construct, repair and maintain main supply routes, landing strips, buildings, structures, and utilities. Additionally, the 142nd performs rear area security operations to include infantry combat missions when required.
"The 142nd and its counterparts have contributed tremendously to the well-being of Soldiers throughout Iraq," said Schlangen.
The engineers have worked continuously in efforts to enhance living conditions for all service members by clearing many areas of dangerous armaments and performing area beautification; constructing items such as pipelines for showers and latrines; improving transportation routes such as bridges, roads and walkways; and boosting security through force protection measures such as assembling guard towers and filling in Hesco barriers at the base gates.
"When we first arrived at LSA Anaconda, there were munitions scattered everywhere," said Sgt. 1st. Class Rodney Schindler, an operations non-commissioned-officer for 142nd. "Most of the equipment was battle damaged, there was garbage laying around, broken windows, and unexploded ordnances all over the place. We didn't even have perimeter security like we do now."
Schindler, who has worked as an active guard member for the 142nd for 11 years, said that the base development from the moment the 142nd arrived to the moment it transferred authority was exceptional.
"LSA Anaconda went from being nothing to becoming a fully functional and secure military post," he said. "What one may observes now is the direct result of the engineers, and I'm very proud to be a part of that. We've truly accomplished a lot this year."
The 142nd has transferred its authority over to the 84th Engineer Battalion, based out of Schoefield Barracks, Hawaii, which will be continuing the battalion's responsibilities at LSA Anaconda and surrounding areas.
"It's been a long and enduring year," said Schindler. "It's nice to be finally going home."
142nd Eng Crest
142nd Eng Castle