Over hill, over dale, the Army is hitting the dusty trails at Buckskin Scout Reservation at Dilley’s Mill. The Army National Guard, that is, and the soldiers are working to make the roads a little less dusty at the camp.
Twenty-eight soldiers with the 193rd Equipment Support Platoon, based in Parkersburg, arrived last week to work on roads and other projects at the scout camp. The unit came equipped with a bulldozer, bobcat, grader, dump trucks and other equipment to complete the project.
Platoon leader First Lieutenant Madalyn Oltman said the main purpose of the visit is training.
“It’s done as an IRT – Innovative Readiness Training,” she said. “Entities come to us, the National Guard, and ask for help with projects. Our brigade has a design section that came down here and looked at the work. Then they tasked out the work to different units, based on what we could do.”
The platoon’s primary task is working on roads.
“We’ve graded about 75 percent of the roads around here,” said Oltman. “We’re doing about 11 hauls of limestone from the quarry. We’ve also taken the roof off of the chapel over there, so that they can construct it again. It was a safety hazard.”
Oltman said the project provided an excellent training opportunity.
“I think it’s an awesome opportunity for them to get out on the equipment and use it,” she said. “Unfortunately, we don’t get to come out and train on the equipment all the time. Now that we have the equipment with us, we can switch them out of the seats. Like right now, they’re switching out on the grader.”
Sergeant First Class Brad Maston is the unit’s platoon sergeant.
“The mission we’re on right now, I think it’s a success,” he said. “We’re allowing the soldiers to get plenty of stick time on the equipment. We got a new grader and new dump trucks that were assigned to us. Being able to haul the gravel and help improve these roads over here for the Boy Scouts has been a great accomplishment for our soldiers.”
Maston said unit morale was high.
“It’s the highest I’ve seen it in three years,” he said. “Once we’re done with operations and we have our classes done, we give them an opportunity in the evening to enjoy fishing in the lake here. We gave them about a half-a-day to go to the swimming hole the other day.”
Buckskin Council manager Jonathan Stevens was impressed with the work.
“They’ve been doing a great job,” he said. “These roads have really needed to be graded for a long time. It’s a huge help to us, the things they’ve been doing. One group replaced a flagpole and that pole needed replaced for several years now. Just being able to use their water buffalo and having another water source out here has been a huge help to us, while we get things ready to have the camp ready to run.”
Oltman, the only officer on-site, was enjoying her visit to Pocahontas County for other reasons.
“It’s nice and serene, and the fact that you’re so far removed from technology and not having your cell phone on you 24/7. That disconnect is nice for a couple weeks.”
Stevens said Buckskin Council is grateful for the assistance.
“I’d especially like to thank them for being out here and helping us out,” he said. “It’s been a huge asset to us. It’s especially good for the boys to see the people in uniform out here doing the work. A lot of people from scouting go into the military and other things like that. So it’s a great opportunity to see what these guys do on a day-to-day basis.”
The 193rd Equipment Support Platoon redeploys to Parkersburg this week.