FORT JACKSON, S.C. – In 2008, Charleston District reassumed responsibility for military construction projects at Fort Jackson. Since then, the district has executed over $1.4 billion in projects including new builds, operations and maintenance, and facility investments services.
Many of those projects were aimed at improving the basic training environment. Fort Jackson is the largest of the four basic combat training installations in the Army and roughly 60% of all new Soldiers are trained there.
Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Blansett, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division command sergeant major, recently toured the various work sites. Blansett was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier, command sergeant major for Fort Jackson, Command Sgt. Maj. Roberto Guadarrama, command sergeant major for the 165th Infantry Brigade, and Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Wirth, the command sergeant major for the 193rd Infantry Brigade.
“One of the most important parts of my job is to make sure the senior enlisted advisors in our Army have a better opportunity to understand what USACE does for them, especially in our region with all the military construction projects,” said Blansett. “As I travel around the southeast, I’m able to tie in the things we are doing for our Army to those who are training America’s best.”
The 165th and 193rd are the two brigades that conduct basic combat training at Fort Jackson.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have had the occasion with the project walk-through,” said Guadarrama. “It was extremely educational. There has been an extraordinary amount of effort from team members and team leaders from different organizations in making these projects come to life.”
One of the projects currently underway is Basic Training Complex Four, Phase Two, which was started this past June and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Formally known as a Basic Combat Trainee Complex, it has all the required facilities to house and fully train the Army’s new recruits, while also being close to field training areas and ranges.
“Fort Jackson is the first point of contact for a large percentage of the Soldiers who enlist in the U.S. Army and it’s very important we provide the optimal onboarding to the newest members of our team,” said Tavernier. “These new facilities will allow us to consolidate battalions into one organic location with the ability to train at scale without any impeding to our mission while enhancing capabilities.”
Fort Jackson graduates an average of 1,000 basic combat training Soldiers each week and on any given day, roughly 10,000 people are training on Fort Jackson.
Following the walk-through, Blansett took some time to meet with staff at the Corps’ Fort Jackson Resident Office.
“Words cannot express how much I appreciate the team and the work they do,” said Blansett. “A lot of great work goes on behind the scenes and it doesn’t go unnoticed. I certainly appreciate what everyone does to make USACE as great as it is.”