“We also have a fire trail mission where we’re improving the roads for the Hot Shots to get up into the park, the fire trails and we also have a mission at the buffalo corrals where we are redoing some of the water lines,” said SFC Naaman Lowry of the 458TH Engineer Battalion.
It’s projects such as these that help the more than 720 guard troops from all over the world train for real–life situations.
“We come out here and everything we’ve practiced every month is hands–on,” said Staff Sergeant Andrew Chrissman. “We get to upright stuff and put everything into play. So it’s great training.”
It’s also a big help to Custer State Park rangers. Mission one: making improvements to the buffalo corrals. That includes carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
“We’re doing something that any on that comes here can enjoy,” said First Lieutenant Brian Jutila of Michigan. “We’re providing utility services for the park so they can continue their mission as far as the buffalo roundup and to provide good services for the wildlife in this area.”
Mission two: creating a five–mile road so park rangers and firefighters can battle a forest fire faster.
“It was a trail that came through here that really wasn’t a road,” Chrissman said. “We came through with our machines, our graders and bulldozers and made a smooth road for the park rangers.”
Park rangers say they’re grateful for the help and would consider this year’s golden coyote training, mission accomplished.