"(20 July 2012) By RUSTY DENNEN – THE FREE LANCE-STAR Civil War soldiers in Union blue transformed the Stafford County landscape nearly 150 years ago during their yearlong stay—cutting trees and roads and setting up vast camps, a harbor and fortifications.
This week, troops in Army green were at work at a 41-acre site where some of their Civil War counterparts once stayed. Due largely to those efforts, the area’s newest Civil War park could open as early as this fall on the rolling swath of woodland off Mount Hope Church Road. About 80 soldiers with the Powhatan-based 180th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command are clearing trees and brush and building roads in a two-week project that began Sunday. The Guard and a local nonprofit, Friends of Stafford County Civil War Sites, which is overseeing the project, on Thursday showed progress at the tract to county officials and Bill Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Much of the effort was focused on Howard Avenue, one of the park’s new internal roads. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard commanded the mostly German troops who served here. His 11th Corps soldiers were among 135,000 Union troops who regrouped in Stafford after the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.
“We’re combat construction, anything to do with roads, clearing brush, ditching,” said Capt. Jesse Kopczynski of the 180th Engineer Company. “The main focus is to train our guys for their combat mission.” The troops get valuable experience on heavy equipment in a real-world setting, “and we’re doing something for the community,” he said. The National Guard is doing the work—at no cost to the county or FSCWS—under its Innovative Readiness Training program. IRT allows soldiers to work on worthy civilian projects approved by the National Guard Bureau.
The 203rd Red Horse Squadron of the Virginia Air National Guard, based in Virginia Beach, will pave the roads and shoulders once the engineers finish work later this month." Read the rest of the article here.
I resurrected this old story about how our Stafford Civil War park was constructed to show how Trump’s “Build WALL through M!” could be implemented. This goes beyond the idea of just letting the Corps of Engineers oversee the project. He could run with the idea that securing our southern border is a matter of national defense and go beyond a massive Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program for the National Guard and Reserve engineering units. Imagine a well resourced III Corps with the manpower of several combat brigades and engineering brigades (if those even exist) managing a nationwide IRT program. In our military’s past, soldiers often constructed roads and forts as a normal part of their mission. It would require a modification in the MTOE of the combat brigades, but that’s done all the time. It would also require a change in today’s attitude from warrior back to soldier, a change I think is long overdue. And I’d rather see our troops spending our wealth (or debt) here that spending it on overseas military adventures.