Soldiers remove drill steel at a well site during training at a Lead Water well Driller Course.
Staff Sgt. Christopher McAllister, Cpl. Michael Frazer and Spc. Brendan Gondek, assigned to the 247th Engineer Detachment (Water Well Drillers), Connecticut Army National Guard, remove drill steel at a Lead Water Well Driller Course at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, Ridgecrest, Calif., in February. The Connecticut Soldiers attended the six-week course where they were taught the basics of hydrology, geology, drill site operations, air rotary drilling, mud rotary drilling and air hammer drilling. (Photo courtesy of the 247th Engineer Detachment)

RIDGECREST, Calif. – Four Soldiers assigned to the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 247th Engineer Detachment (Water Well Drillers) graduated a six-week training course located at the Naval Air Weapons Station, Feb. 15.

The course was designed to give Soldiers the training to become Lead Water Well Driller Technicians.

Staff Sgt. Christopher McAllister, Sgt. David Benton, Cpl. Michael Frazer and Spc. Brendan Gondek attended the joint operation course alongside Navy Seabees and Air Force Redhorse Units. Led by the instructors of the Naval Construction Training Center, students were taught the basics of hydrology, geology, drill site operations, air rotary drilling, mud rotary drilling and air hammer drilling.

“NCTC instructors are well-versed, knowledgeable and trained in conducting water well operations and teach at a level that is understandable by someone with little to no experience,” McAllister said. “After attending this course I am confident in my ability to lead and assist the Commander in water well operations.”

Throughout the course, Soldiers focused on 24-hour operations in a field environment and successfully constructed a water producing monitoring well that will be used in environmental monitoring research.

As one of the course’s attendees, and a Guardsman who has only been assigned to the unit for a year, I can say with conviction that the course provided me with a lot more confidence going forward. That sentiment was echoed by those with far more experience.

“With years of well drilling on the civilian side and years drilling with the 247th, after taking this course I’ve learned new techniques that, I feel, could make a difference for smoother operations on the drill site,” Frazer said.

The course also focused on not just operations, but the equipment itself. Benton said that the heavy focus on the machinery will help the unit troubleshoot and repair mechanical problems on-site.

Learning repair techniques in the field will increase unit efficiency and safety awareness, which will help the 247th focus on completing the mission at hand.