Out of the books and into the real world -- the U.S. Army Engineer School is revamping the way Soldiers learn by inviting guests from different walks of life to visit Fort Leonard Wood and speak to new military members about today's society.

"We are aiming this toward the captain's career course students to expose them to a wider aperture -- as part of the Army's campaign of learning -- they can talk to people outside of the service like corporate executives, college professors or people at government agencies. It gives them context as they look at a very complex world that they will interact with in the future," said Col. David Theisen, U.S. Army Engineer School assistant commandant.

"We are all people. We may have different thought processes, but a lot of times we are working toward the same objectives. We are just trying to encourage this sooner in their military education process," he said.

John McManus, the program's first speaker, is set to speak at noon Friday in Lincoln Auditorium.

McManus is an award-winning professor, author and military historian. He has written 11 books on the history of modern American Soldiers in combat.

Theisen hopes leaders see this as an opportunity to benefit their Soldiers.

"What we are attempting to do here is take those portions of ethics, leadership and morality and use this as a replacement for a PowerPoint or a book they are supposed to read. This is more interactive," Theisen said.

Dave Chuber, U.S. Army Engineer School historian, hopes that one day the whole Fort Leonard Wood community will be involved with the guest speaker program.

"This has been done before, but it's hard to keep a program like this going without getting the community involved to keep it alive," Chuber said.

The next guest speaker set to be on post is Col. William Eckhardt May 13. He is a professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He was the chief prosecutor in the Vietnam My Lai Massacre trial, where Soldiers were tried for killing civilians and trying to cover it up.

The guest speaker scheduled for June 11 is Sprint CEO, Dan Hess.

Other speakers planned for the future are Don Ballard, Medal of Honor recipient; Gail Worth, president and owner of Gail's Harley Davidson KC; and retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Barry Bridger, a former POW from the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp.

Page last updated Thu March 20th, 2014 at 14:40