SAPPERS: At the ready!

Members of the 288th Sapper Company were recently in Hattiesburg for training at Camp Shelby. (Courtesy Photo)

Members of the 288th Sapper Company were recently in Hattiesburg for training at Camp Shelby.
(Courtesy Photo)

HATTIESBURG – The Army National Guard has to be ready at a moment’s notice to handle emergency situations of various types and annual training is one way they keep their skills honed.
The 288th Sapper Company, based in Houston, just completed a two-week training session at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg and Capt. Seth Davidson said the exercises are beneficial both at home and abroad.
“We primarily work on demolition training,” Davidson said. “It helps our combat engineers, the Sappers, stay qualified in that area.”
The Sapper Company has been deployed overseas three times in the last ten years and mainly worked on route clearance and the annual training focuses largely on that work.
“We did crater charges and blew doors open and destroyed IEDs,” Davdison said.
They also had an opportunity to do some in-house training thanks to simulators that provide experience in handling machinery.
“They have a virtual enjoy training suite,” Davidson said. “Like the route clearing they did in Afghanistan.”
Soldiers use headsets and simulate driving the vehicles to keep their skills current.
After their return to Houston, unit members will spend one weekend a month on continuing training exercies.
“We do squad to platoon training and their are briefings,” Davidson said. “Our mission is to be prepared, not only to go overseas, but also for domestic relief like hurricanes and it’s hurricane season now. And any traditional battle. We’ve mainly concentrated on counter-insurgency training for the last three years.”
Whatever the emergency or need, the Guard members strive to be prepared and ready to act.
“Whenever they need us or call us,” Davidson said.

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