Maine Army National Guard announces summer community outreach projects

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AUGUSTA, MAINE (05/23/2023) (readMedia)-- The Maine Army National Guard will be involved in six community outreach projects of various sizes for the 2023 annual training season in June.

Officially termed Innovative Readiness Training, or IRTs, the projects have long been a staple in the Maine National Guard's annual training repertoire, particularly for engineering and transportation units. The federal IRT program allows for active, reserve and National Guard units to pair their mission essential task training with community needs, resulting not only in increased unit readiness, but also bettering local communities.

"We can construct training buildings in our armories, run our own haul mission scenarios, but that's not always the best option," said Brig. Gen. Dean Preston, commander of the Maine Army National Guard. "IRTs are unique in that they offer a tremendous two for one – training for future federal missions, while meeting a community need. In many cases, we have soldiers that live or work near where we do these projects, which is great because they can remember that experience not just for the training they received, but for how they were able to impact their community."

Five site development missions are currently slated to be completed in June by units under the 133rd Engineer Battalion. A sixth project, a series of haul missions by the 1136th Transportation Company, is already underway. The 1136th spent their March drill period conducting haul missions for the Bureau of Parks and Lands, delivering firewood from two central locations to various state parks in anticipation of the tourist season. More deliveries are slated for June as well.

Previous IRT projects include reconstructing sea walls and building rehabilitation on Kittery's Wood Island, a multipurpose sports field at Raymond Elementary School, cabin rehabilitation for Camp Susan Curtis in Stoneham, and many more.

Summer 2023 IRT Projects:

Auburn – Clearing, grubbing, and grading in preparation for youth sports complex construction

Primary units assigned – 136th Engineer Vertical Construction Company (Lewiston, Skowhegan); 262nd Engineer Construction Company (Sanford)

East Millinocket – Rehabilitation of aging industrial property to support the community's goal of establishing a new center of commerce

Primary unit assigned: 185th Engineer Support Company (Presque Isle)

Lake George Regional State Park – Rehabilitation of property and historical structures to keep the park a popular destination for Maine residents and out of state tourists

Primary unit assigned: 136th Engineer Vertical Construction Company

Skowhegan – Assist in establishing two crew quarters for Maine Appalachian Trail Club, which will aid in the management of 267 miles of the Appalachian Trail

Primary unit assigned: 262nd Engineer Company & 136th Engineer Vertical Construction Company

Presque Isle – Establishing new parking and access areas for Peace Park

Primary unit assigned: 185th Engineer Support Company

Media desiring to make a site visit are encouraged to reach out the public affairs office. Staff will work with press to pinpoint a day and time that will ensure the best opportunities to collect imagery and video. Local community leaders are also encouraged to make arrangements to visit IRT sites.

Captions for photos of past projects:

Image001: Wood Island in Kittery, including the seawalls constructed by the Maine Army National Guard. (Photo courtesy of Wood Island Lifesaving Station Association)

210808-Z-TY703-015-6: Pvt. 1st Class Jillian Ross, a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 185th Engineer Company secures decking with an electric drill on the northern pier of Wood Island as part of her unit's annual training August 9, 2021 in Kittery. The Maine Army National Guard worked with the Wood Island Restoration Project, a committee that was formed in 2011 to restore Wood Island and the US lifesaving station to its original and historical face. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Myrick)

190610-Z-RD516-053: Soldiers from the 136th Engineer Company of the Maine Army National Guard survey the land on historic Wood Island in Kittery, Maine June 10, 2019. Innovative readiness training is a way for Soldiers to train on their assigned jobs and also help the Maine community. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Jarod Dye)

170607-Z-JY390-001: Soldiers of 3rd platoon from the 136th Engineer Company (Vertical) fixing the roof of one of the cabins at Camp Susan Curtis, Stoneham, Maine in June 2017. These construction projects are part of the units Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), a program which allows these soldiers to conduct basic tasks and drills while also helping out their community. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Warrant Officer Patrik Orcutt)

161105-Z-TY703-006-17: Displayed cards from the students of Raymond Elementary School to the Soldiers of the 262nd Engineer Company. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Myrick)

161105-Z-TY703-006-9: The 262nd Engineer Company constructs a playground field for Raymond Elementary School during the summer of 2017. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Myrick)

180629-Z-ZZ999-001: The 136th Engineer Company logo, as it appears in the final concrete block laid in the Wood Island seawall in June 2018. (Photo courtesy of the 136th Engineer Company)

190607-Z-DY035-001: Maine Army National Guard Soldiers lay the foundation of the Wood Island seawall. (Maine Army National Guard photo by Maj. Carl Lamb)

230304-Z-ZZ999-001: Soldiers of the 1136th Transportation Company conduct their first IRT haul missions of the 2023 season over March drill, delivering firewood to multiple Maine state parks for the Bureau of Parks and Lands. (Photo courtesy of 1136th Transportation Company)