AUGUSTA, Maine — Command Sergeant Major Darrin J. Bohn from U.S. Army Forces Command visited Soldiers from the Maine Army National Guard, 133rd Engineer Battalion at several of their project sites during their annual training in June.
“This is what it is all about, getting the Soldiers out here to train and giving them experience in the military occupational specialties they were trained for,” said Bohn.
The 133rd consists of units with Soldiers who are qualified as engineers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers and masons. Throughout the annual training, units will exercise those skills through community outreach, just as if they were deployed overseas.
During the two week annual training units are working on 10 different community projects overall from Caswell to Casco.
Two of the sites Bohn visited were in Augusta and Ellsworth where Soldiers from the 262nd Engineer Company, who fall under the 133rd, were working to build access roads for the local communities.
These Soldiers are all dedicated and motivated to complete the mission at hand explained, 2nd Lt. Jonathan D. Bratten from Portland, the officer in charge of the Augusta site. “We will do anything to take care of them and complete this mission,” said Bratten.
Staff Sgt. Heath J. Bouffard from North Waterboro, non-commissioned officer at the Ellsworth site noted, “we are working to ensure our Soldiers perform both safe and proficiently.”
Bohn, the highest ranking enlisted Soldier to visit Maine, observed another big focus for the 133rd annual training, professional leader development. Bohn attended a Non-Commissioned Officer Developmental Program at the Maine State Police Training Academy in Vassalboro.
The 120th Regional Support Group hosted the NCODP for the 133rd, lead by Command Sgt Maj. Richard L. Hannibal from Recruiting and Retention, MEARNG, the agenda was for enlisted leaders to discuss goals to enhance professional leader development.
During the NCODP Staff Sgt. Mary A. Quirion, 133rd Higher Headquarters, Gardiner explained the importance of non-commissioned officer evaluation reports.
It is our jobs as leaders to accurately represent each Soldier as an individual and the NCOER is a big factor in their military career, she said.
In addition, Hannibal stressed the urgency to encourage Soldiers to sign-up for a required online training course called Structured Self Development. There are four phases that consist of educating a Soldier on their MOS that must be completed before moving on to the next level of leadership throughout their military career, said Hannibal.
Before leaving Maine Bohn stated, “We are looking at the Soldier as a whole now and in order for them to succeed we need to provide them with the tools they need to be tactically, mentally and physically proficient… Our job as leaders is to mentor these Soldiers through our own experiences and set them up for success when it comes to completing a mission.”