Despite the rainy weather at the beginning of the week, military personnel from Georgia and Michigan rolled into Raymond to set up camp before the second year of IRT doing construction projects at Camp William Hinds and for the Town of Raymond. Camp Hinds provides space for the military to set up camp and gives them office space in their training center on Plains Road.
The 1/16th Civil Engineering Squadron (Air Force) and the 127 Unit out of Michigan are setting up camp, erecting tents, outfitting trailers as showers and offices this week.
The soldiers will arrive at Camp Hinds for two week rotations, different units each time, continuing on the work completed by the previous unit.
Monday, May 4th will be the start of the second rotation of soldiers on site. They will begin projects for Raymond and at Camp Hinds.
Other towns are also looking into writing a proposal to work with the military while they are here, said Camp Hinds ranger Scott Martin.
This week was also vacation week for RSU14 and many Boy Scouts attended an overnight program in the training center.
“We’d rather have all the noise and the hinges falling off, than have them rust off from lack of use,” said Scout Executive Eric Tarbox, as the boys prepared for their lunch. The military personnel agreed that the noise was just what should be happening at Camp Hinds.
“The Fly First Class Scouts all said how much fun they are having watching the service men and women setting up camp while they are learning basic Scout skills of setting up a camp,” said Tarbox.
The Air National Guard will have personnel onsite for the duration of the program this summer, which will end August 30th. There will be four rotations of Marines from Battle Creek a bridge company from Michigan under the direction of Capt. Christopher Scannell, USMCR. The company will be working on the Tenney River Bridge that spans one section of the camp to the other.
The bridge project provides the Battle Creek Marines the opportunity to work on a bridge they might not normally train with. Scannell anticipants the bridge project to be complete before late-June when the Boy Scout staff arrive at camp.
“We wanted to have a little unity of effort,” said Scannell, who said his unit usually trains at their home base. The program in Raymond provides the military a chance to train with other branches of the service, while completing a mission. At different times there will be Marines, Air Force, Navy Seabees and Navy Corpsmen (medical personnel). There will even be Royal Marines from England for cross/joint training opportunities, said Scannell.
“Marines work hard and will work all night if we ask them to,” said Scannell.
The major project for this summer is creating the foundation for the dining hall at Camp Hinds. Other projects units will be working on include building an athletic field, building three or four staff cabins, some of which will be transported and assembled at another Boy Scout camp, and the addition of elements to the COPE course, which the Marines call a “leadership reaction course.”
The Town of Raymond will also use the military this summer for a few projects including erecting a tower for communications and public safety after putting in a road and clearing the site, according to town manager Don Willard. They will also create fire ponds and work at the Public Safety building lot on Route 302.
Each unit that arrives has a specialty, be it building bridges, putting in foundations or excavation work.
Master Sergeant Doug Cyr from the 101st Engineering Air Refueling Wing in Maine is the onsite NCO in charge for Camp Hinds on orders from the Pentagon. Lt. Colonel Tony Costanzo from the USAF is the other officer in charge with Capt. Scannell.