By Officer Candidate Nathan Rivard
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
Vermont National Guard Engineers kicked off a firing range project here with a team of Senegalese Armed Force Engineers Monday.
The Vermont National Guard and Senegalese Armed Forces are partners in the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the two’s partnership.
“This is my second time in Senegal and I was so impressed with how well our previous humanitarian demining training site project went with our countries that I wanted to take part in another engineering trip,” said Sgt. First Class Darby Alberts, surveying and design ¬engineer. “During the last trip in 2015, I sketched a quick idea on another project we could work together on and now we’re actually doing it.”
The project is scheduled to take two-weeks and will consist of new firing berms, a new target position, new drainage, and an access road being built.
“I received an email one day based on an idea from Alberts, who made a great concept and had 10 pages of sketches for a range renovation,” said Capt. Gosselin, range designer, Detachment 1, Garrison Support Command. I took those sketches and built a refined design using CADD [Computer Aided Design and Drafting] and based on those drafts, we designed a 95% solution on how to accomplish this.”
The surveying team completed a site survey in the Fall of 2016 to see how close their designs were. Gosselin says they were nearly perfect.
“We wanted to make sure the design was achievable, there would be quality work for a long-term and sustainable range, and that our calculations were correction,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Reed, Det. 1, GSC. “We are using all U.S. Army standards for the range based on how we shoot, but we are converting everything to metrics because we are in a partnership environment and that is what our partners use.”
The range project has more than 20 Vermont National Guard Soldiers working alongside Senegalese engineers and for many of them, this is their first time here.
“This is my first time in Senegal and it is amazing to have our two teams working on equipment together,” said Sgt. First Class Raymond Doner, NCO in Charge of the build. “We have some stumbles along the way with the communication between French, English, and Woloff, but we’re still all engineers and we are working hard to get this job done.”