Texas Army National Guard brigade assumes USARCENT engineer mission
Story by: Courtesy Story
Posted: Sept. 1, 2016
The 176th Engineer Brigade of Grand Prairie, Texas will oversee engineer construction projects throughout the Middle East.
On Sept. 1, 2016, Colonel Charles Schoening, Commander of the 176th Engineer Brigade and Task Force Chaos, officially assumed authority for engineer construction missions for the entire U.S. Army Central area of responsibility.
The occasion was marked with a formal ceremony attended by representatives from each subordinate command within the task force, as well as commanders of several adjacent units.
Major General William Hickman, USARCENT Deputy Commanding General for Operations, was the keynote speaker. Maj. Gen. Hickman complimented the skill and professionalism of the brigade’s Soldiers and expressed confidence in their ability to excel in any assignment.
Speaking from the podium, he praised the 176th. “I know you will be successful in this mission because I can already see the impact you have made.”
It was a particularly salient and affirming observation from an active component general referring to a task force comprised of Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers.
Historically, each component has operated in virtual exclusion of the other, but the Global War on Terror has ushered in a new era of unprecedented integration and cooperation among the service branches and components.
In speaking of the arrangement, Col. Schoening observed that the 176th was selected for the mission after Secretary of Defense consideration of active component, Army Guard brigades.
“We were selected because we have the training and capability to successfully complete this mission,” said Schoening.
The Georgetown resident will command an engineer force of nearly 1,700 Soldiers operating in several of the 20 countries throughout the USCENTCOM region.
While in theater, the Task Force will be engaged in a wide variety of construction and infrastructure projects designed to improve living conditions for U.S. and coalition forces, assist partner nations in defeating ISIS, and build partner capacity through joint training.
Col. Schoening noted, “This is a historic moment for the 176th Engineer Brigade. We’re doing things no other engineer brigade headquarters has done before. Our Soldiers are excited about this mission and the opportunity to serve their country."