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Engineers build teamwork and Sea Girt
By 2nd Lt. Amelia Thatcher, 444th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Sea Girt is getting a facelift, thanks to engineers from the New Jersey Army National Guard.

This June, three units teamed up to improve the training areas used not only by fellow Guardsmen, but also state and local police, the Department of Corrections, Youth ChalleNGe, and Officer Candidate School, among others.

"Anyone who trains here will benefit," said 1st Lt. Jeff Hager, the acting commander for the project. "This is a highvisibility project."

Improvements to be completed by the 150th Engineer Company include sidewalks and wheelchair access to some of the barracks, grading and excavating for an urban combat training site, a new review stand for the parade field, and gravel roadway access to the ranges. The 160th Engineer Detachment is also undertaking some roofing, electrical, and plumbing work. The units are joined by combat engineers of Alpha Company, 50th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, which Hager says is a good sign. The improvements make up the annual training periods for the 150th, 160th, and A/50th.

"It's great to get several units together on one project," he said. Hager is optimistic that they will work alongside each other again on future projects, such as a possible UAV landing site at Warren Grove Gunnery Range.

The Soldiers aren't the only ones getting a workout. Staff Sgt. Lee Christensen, an electrician on the civilian side, praised the Soldiers in the earthmovers he was supervising.

"They're doing great work," he said, and tapped his chest, joking, "But with more stripes, I can't play anymore!"

This was Pfc. Jose Rivera's first AT and he was all too happy to get out of the house and out of the armory.

"There's always something to be fixed," he said.


Story and photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley, N.J. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Public Affairs

The long road to becoming a commissioned officer in the New Jersey Army National Guard begins with Phase Zero – months of drill weekends devoted to paperwork, classroom instruction and physical training at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt.

But the hard work, the hours of pushing the body to its limits and beyond – and the first real understanding of what it takes to become a leader – comes to the candidates during a 15-day training period known as Phase One at the Niantic Readiness Center at Camp Rell, Conn.

On July 28, Col. Walter Alvarado, commander of New Jersey's 254th Regiment (Combat Arms) led a contingent of leaders to check on the progress of the candidates of Class 55 as they neared completion of Phase One.

He complimented the class on their fortitude. Twenty one of the 22 candidates who began Phase One were still hanging in, a better ratio than all of the neighboring states that also sent their officer hopefuls for the same block of training.

"It's my hope I will see all of you a year down the road when you're receiving your commission as second lieutenants – future leaders of our great organization," Alvarado told the candidates when they

Capt. Margaret Brescio, center, talks to New Jersey Army National Guard Officer Candidate Class 55 about career fields during a break in their Phase One training at Readiness Center at Camp Rell, Conn.
gathered from a break in land navigation training.

The candidates said the most difficult part of Phase One has been the land navigation courses. They're held at Stone Ranch, a hilly, overgrown wilderness area just north of Camp Rell. The courses are dotted by steep treecovered hills and traversed by ravines that drop more than 70 feet, terrain features that are especially dangerous in the black of night.

"It gets so dark here at night you don't see the tree branches until it's in your face," said Candidate Jay Falcon.

But the candidates said they're making it by learning to rely on each other.

"We're really sticking together as a team," said Candidate Najib Nabi. "We know that we need to work as a group to make it through this."


Table of Contents
Volume 35 Number 1 Staff / Information
(c) 2010 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs