The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

By Ryan Jarvi 

National Guard convoy stays night in Ironwood gymnasium

 

Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

A MICHIGAN National Guard truck sits idly outside Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood on Friday. The Michigan National Guard 1437 Engineering Company, out of Sault Ste. Marie, was on its way to Camp Ripley in Minnesota for three weeks of fast-water training building bridges.

IRONWOOD - A bridging unit of the Michigan National Guard made a pit stop at Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood on Friday on its way to Camp Ripley in Minnesota.

Capt. Alek Willson said the Engineering 1437th, a multi-role bridge company out of Sault Ste. Marie, was passing through on its way to Minnesota to complete three weeks of "fast-water training."

Willson said the training is part of the ARMY Force Generation Cycle, which rotates on a five-year loop.

Each year, military forces are working up to the point of deployment. However, in the event the unit isn't deployed on the fifth year, it is required to go through with extra training time, which was the case for the 1437th Company.

Willson said they had connected with Tim Kolesar, Ironwood school's superintendent, about providing the company lodging for the night.

"He's been very gracious and has accepted us with open arms," Willson said, adding that Kolesar allowed the company complete access to the school's facilities. "I can't thank him enough."

The company was bunking down in the school's gymnasium and hitting the road tomorrow.

There are 92 people in the company with 39 vehicles in the convoy, made up mostly of HMETTs, or High Mobility Expandable Tactical Trucks.

Willson said the convoy, with that number of vehicles, can sometimes stretch 15 or 16 miles down a road, and coordinating the stops and route requires a great deal of planning.