Return to Guardlife Homepage
Jersey engineers turn swamp into road
Story and photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley, NJDMAVA/PA

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – What happens when a mucky patch of Maryland swamp meets the 150th Engineer Company?

A road capable of carrying 80,000 pound trucks begins to emerge foot by painstaking foot.

More than two dozen Soldiers from the New Jersey Army National Guard unit spent their annual training at this sprawling Army installation north of Baltimore building a road strong enough to carry ammunition trucks.

“This is great training -- it’s exactly the kind of work we would do if we deployed,” said Capt. Becky Lapidow,

Spc. Reginald Welch of the 150th Engineer Company points to the spot he wants gravel dumped on an under-construction road during his unit AT in July.

the company commander. “There are a lot of roads being built in Afghanistan.”

The AT is a milestone, the first since the unit stood up in October 2008. Several members of the 160th Engineer Detachment took part as well.

As he grinned through a cloud of gravel dust, Staff Sgt. William Cook, a 150th member who once listed his top three military job preferences as engineer, engineer and engineer, said progress on the road – nearly 2,000 feet in two weeks – surprised him.

“When we got here, we had a swamp,” he said. “Now, it’s starting to look a lot like a road.”

In addition to the digging, grading and laying the stabilizing sand and gravel for the road, all of the Soldiers trained on the safe operation of five- and 20-ton dump trucks.

Spc. Reggie Pharel, a supply clerk, enjoyed the driver training so much he volunteered to get behind the wheel of a five-ton dump truck every day for the rest of AT.

After several 10-hour days of driving the same two-mile loop, he still wasn’t bored.

“Good training,” he said with a big smile as he backed up to drop yet another load of gravel.

Governor signs Oral History Foundation Bill
Governor Jon S. Corzine, seated center, finishes signing the bill for the creation of a state Veterans’ Oral History Foundation on August 17. That day, Col. Steven Ferrari and retired Army Brig. Gen. Frank Carlini shared recollections about their time in war zones with Corzine after the governor signed the bill in Atlantic City creating the Foundation. A board of nine representatives to be appointed by Army Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, New Jersey adjutant general, will guide the foundation’s work. The foundation will raise money and publicize efforts to capture the oral histories of New Jersey veterans and preserve them at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey. Photo by Spc. Robert Neill, JFHQ-NJ/PA.


Table of Contents
Volume 34 Number 5 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs