Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District 542nd Engineer Detachment, Forward Engineering Support Team – Advanced (FEST-A) were welcomed back from deployment by family and friends at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, Sept. 15.
Returning from a six-month deployment to Wiesbaden, Germany, the team provided enduring technical engineering support to U.S. Army Europe - Africa to improve force projection capabilities, ensure safe living and working conditions for U.S. personnel, and reassure North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
“We have a diverse and dynamic team that was able to think critically and creatively to execute the FEST-A mission,” said Maj. Alfred Muna, commander of the 542nd FEST- A. “I’m extremely proud of the team’s accomplishments.”
The 8-person team is comprised of one officer-in-charge, one non-commissioned officer and six highly skilled civilian technical experts from USACE districts across the country. The civilian technical experts include mechanical, environmental, electrical, civil, and structural engineers, and a geospatial information systems specialist.
Muna retuned to Savannah along with Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Colon, Jr., noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the 542nd FEST-A. Another team member Project Engineer Jason Tidwell returned to the USACE St. Paul District. Five other team members – Beau Gaddie, electrical engineer, Louisville District; Jennie Tyrrell, civil engineer, St. Paul District; Kelsey Staggs, mechanical engineer, St. Louis District; David Garvin, civil engineer, Louisville District; Steven Taylor, structural engineer, St. Paul District, will return to their perspective USACE districts.
Stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, the 542nd FEST-A team is one of eight USACE teams throughout the country that provides engineering support to deployed Army units and commanders, such as technical assessments, planning and design, and construction management services. Equipped with reach back communication capabilities, known as Tele Engineering, FEST-A teams can bring specialized data, research, and expertise from USACE research centers, engineers, and laboratories to the front where it is needed.
During deployment, the team completed a total of 32 projects throughout Europe, including missions in in Germany, Greece, Croatia, Poland, and Cyprus.
“Working with host nations in several countries is a great benefit that allowed us to build and strengthen our relationships with foreign military in those countries,” said Muna. “Overall, this was a great experience for the entire team.”