The work will culminate during the unit's annual training in June with the availability of a new training facility that will allow National Guard Soldiers in Southeast Missouri to learn how to properly conduct vehicle and personnel searches.
At their April drill, 34 Soldiers of the 880th went to the Missouri National Guard's Wappapello Training Site to continue transporting 500,000 tons of rock to build a gravel road that will lead to and from the entry control point, or ECP, which is being built on a two-acre clearing.
The 880th is largely made up of heavy equipment operators and the unit took its seven 20-ton dump trucks and eight other pieces of engineer equipment to work on the site, said company commander 1st Lt. Matthew Knoderer.
"We're continuing our rock haul mission and continuing our entry control point operations in preparations for our annual training," Knoderer said. "What we're doing today is hauling rock in from an outside quarry to build up this road. We're getting the ground ready, as well, by moving some dirt."
An ECP is an area -- identical to ones being used by military men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan -- where Soldiers conduct search and seizure operations before allowing entry into a secure area, such as a forward operating base.
An ECP layout includes warning signs, an entry gate, a personnel search area, vehicle search area, fighting positions, over-watch positions and barricades and speed bumps. They deter illegal movement, control movement into an area of operation, protect those inside from terrorist activities, create an effective roadblock, prevent smuggling of contraband and serve as an observation post.
Knoderer said the mission for the 880th is two-fold.
"We get some valuable stick time for our Soldiers on an assigned piece of equipment and we get to practice the task we would be doing if we would be doing if we were deployed," said Knoderer, of Cape Girardeau. "But we're also doing some great improvements to the site here. Other units will be able to train here. So it benefits our unit, but it benefits all the other units in the state than will be able to come out here and train. That's the good thing about this."
This is the first ECP to be available to Southeast Missouri Soldiers, though they already exist at Camp Clark, Camp Crowder and the Guard's Macon Training Site.
The bulk of the work -- if not all of it -- is expected to be completed during the 880th's annual training in June. The 880th will continue to do preliminary work at its May drill as well.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-800-GoGuard or visit www.moguard.com.
For more information about this release, please contact Scott Moyers at (573) 339-62-64 or e-mail him at email@example.com.