Story and photo by, 1st Lt. Paulina Ziminska, 643rd Eng. Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
Pfc. Williams Riverasalgado (front) and Spc Manuel Ferreira Jr.(back), both electricians with 643rd Eng. Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theatre Sustainment Command, work on cutting electrical conduits for interior lighting as part of the Department of Public Works Trades Work Program. The program pairs up Engineer Soldiers with a civilian from their profession and gain more experience within their Military Occupational Specialty.
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Army carpenters, plumbers and electricians teamed up with U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Public Works to enhance Soldiers’ training, skills and resources through the valuable DPW Trades Work Program.
For the past 10 months, approximately 12 Soldiers from the 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, have been rotating into their specific mission occupational specialty, or MOS, positions within DPW each month.
This program allows Soldiers to pair up with a civilian from their profession and gain more experience within their MOS.
The troop labor also saves the Army around $55,000 a month.
“We work throughout Schofield and Wheeler in offices, hangars and motor pools installing conduit, running and tracing wires,” said Spc. Manuel Ferreira, electrician, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.
Soldiers are grouped together and assigned a civilian team leader, who coaches Soldiers through proper installation and the building process.
“The Army builds a certain way, and the civilian sector has their own techniques,” said Spc. Carlton Baxter, electrician, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., who worked as a service technician before joining the Army. “It is a really great experience to learn how to complete the mission in a new way.”
“Whenever we reach a site, we talk about the site, the conditions and the extent of the work,” said Sgt. Herlon DaCruz, plumber, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., who is the noncommissioned officer in charge for the DPW Trades Work Program. “I explain what we are going to do and then offer different scenarios to allow the Soldiers to think of new solutions to the same problem.”
The most important aspect of the DPW Trades Work Program is allowing Soldiers to work together and help each other gain more information about their specific trade.
“As plumbers, we do a lot of interior plumbing,” DaCruz said. “(In) the DPW Trades Work Program, we are also able to practice our exterior plumbing, which we do not have a chance to do at the unit.”
“DPW gave me flashbacks to the times I’ve done plumbing in the civilian sector,” said Spc. Michael Pace, plumber, 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., who worked as a plumber for four years before joining the Army. “Working with DPW allowed me to refresh myself on what I have forgotten.”
Currently, carpenters from the DPW Trades Work Program are constructing an office space in Building 104 on Wheeler Army Airfield.
“The Soldiers are very diligent and knowledgeable,” said Gerard Wade, central team supervisor, DPW. “They bring a great attitude to the work place.”
The DPW Trades Work Program is scheduled to continue as long as mission requirements can support this key program.
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