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Engineers head from Jersey Shore to Belize
TAG at Operation Jump Start

By Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA

For members of the Army Guard’s 110th Engineers Utilities Detachment (EUD) based in Tuckerton, their annual training might have sounded like a government funded vacation. Their two weeks in Belize was certainly exotic, but was far from a vacation as one could get. In just two months one of New Jersey’s newest units sent 27 Soldiers in two rotations to support Operation Tradewinds-Belize to provide build-up, operational and carry-on engineer support for the annual multinational exercise.

It was New Jersey’s mission to make the training facilities better in the coastal nation south of Mexico for the participating military forces from Antigua-Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago and United Kingdom, to name a few.

The training to combat transnational threats, in counter drug operations and conducting a disaster response was coordinated by Marine Forces South and U.S. Army Southern Command.

Participation in Operation Tradewinds was a first for the unit which features a cross section of engineering skills such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians and heavy equipment operators. The remote annual training provided an opportunity to build unit cohesion and practice newly acquired engineer skills. “A lot of guys got a chance to show what they can do as well as learn from the experts in the unit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Donald Brandinelli, 110th EUD NCOIC. The engineers used their two Bobcats and assorted power or hand tools to make the military home improvements in weather that makes the hot, humid days on the Jersey Shore easy to take.

Besides the stifling environment the engineers had to deal with an existing infrastructure that was quite antiquated. “Years of wiring and rewiring, and transition from the European to American Voltage standard made the utilities part of the project especially challenging,” noted Brandinelli as he talked about the electrical work on the former British colony. The varied projects kept the electrical section busy with several crews in multiple buildings.

“But as far as a pure physical challenge; the construction of the tent city on nearby Hattieville range took the cake,” explained Brandinelli.

The tent city was built from the ground up and included 24 barracks, an Ammo Supply Point (ASP), medical, and a pair of dining facility tents complete with platforms, tables and electrical lighting. The power generation was provided by an on-site generator and the electrical distribution network was custom built and buried during the tent city phase of the project which was completed in just five days.

Follow on support for the operation included earthmoving operations, furniture construction, plumbing repairs, logistical support and construction of an emergency barracks to quarantine a group of visiting military that developed cases of chicken pox.

“The guys out here really gave their all and impressed me with just how far they were willing to go to accomplish the project within the allotted time,” said Capt. George Fedorczyk, 110th EUD commander.

Despite the difficult working conditions, and the challenges presented by both a tight deadline and shifting project requirements, the 110th EUD showed determination and skill in accomplishing the mission for this Caribbean nation of 300,000 people.

Table of Contents
Volume 33 Number 3 Staff / Information
(c) 2007 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs