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Feature Stories

NEWS | Aug. 13, 2020

Continuing Education Overseas

By Story by Capt. Ernest Wang Area Support Group - Jordan

U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve engineers are mobilized to the Kingdom of Jordan in support of construction management and surveying missions. For soldiers enrolled in college, the missions have presented unique opportunities to pair educational interests with military field experiences. The opportunities have been timely considering that classes stateside have largely moved online due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Spc. Samuel Pimentel arrived in Jordan with the Connecticut National Guard’s 242nd Engineer Detachment and is majoring in environmental engineering at Three Rivers Community College. A 12T Technical Engineer, Pimentel has spent several weeks in the field conducting topographical surveys. “I took a course with a heavy emphasis on topography before we left,” said Pimentel, a native of Salem, Connecticut. “It’s been amazing getting hands-on experience and generating data myself.”

Spc. Mollie Hiscox of the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade joined engineers on a surveying mission this past month. A rising junior who is majoring in environmental science at Boise State University, Hiscox spent a week assisting on environmental surveys and fuel spill response. The highlight of her week was identifying an Adesmia darkling beetle. “The bumps on their backs help condense water from the air and direct it toward their mouths,” said Hiscox, a native of Boise, Idaho. “Scientists are studying this phenomenon to develop technologies to source water in water-scarce countries.” Hiscox is considering a commission as an engineer officer after she finishes her degree.

“One of the strengths of the Guard and Reserve is the educational level and civilian experience of the enlisted force,” said Sgt. Maj. John Lane, Ph.D., of the 242nd Engineer Detachment. “An educated force is a more capable force. Education is a force multiplier and win-win for the soldier and the Army.” Dr. Lane is in Jordan with Pimentel and Hiscox, and is Chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hydrogeophysics Branch when not in uniform.

The U.S. Army is in Jordan to partner with the Jordan Armed Forces and meet common security challenges in the Middle East. Jordan is not only one of U.S.'s closest allies in the region, but in the world.