Corps of Engineers senior NCO visits Soldiers of 7th Battalion in Afghanistan
March 22, 2012
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer senior enlisted adviser recently made one of his last trips to Afghanistan, where he visited Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Forward Support Company, 7th Engineer Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI), on Forward Operating Base Shank.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Buxbaum's first stop was to visit medics at the battalion aid station, where he found them doing spring cleaning and structural improvements. He sat with the medics and talked about a variety of topics, from the importance of their job to predeployment training and future opportunities with realistic training.
All of the medics expressed the importance of Brigade Combat Team Trauma Training (BCT3) course before deployment, since it gave them a realistic insight to combat injuries. The medics also expressed that currently the Forward Surgical Team at FOB Shank is keeping them current on all medical trends. Buxbaum was impressed by the BAS, which was modified by the unit's engineers.
"This is one of the best aid stations I've seen in country," Buxbaum said, "since it gives medics the best opportunities to treat Soldiers and civilians due to its layout and current location."
"My Soldiers were excited to meet the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers senior noncommissioned officer," said Staff Sgt. Tiffany Kwiecinski, task force senior medic. "It was an honor to meet him."
Buxbaum's next stop was the tactical operations center, where he had a chance to talk to Soldiers from the battalion's intelligence and operations sections about the latest situation in the area of operations. He stated his interest in increasing the realism of predeployment engineer training based on current operations.
"It was impressive to have such an important senior NCO come visit and interact with our junior Soldiers," said Capt. Brian Harutunian, the battle captain. "We were able to talk challenges and issues with training and current operations."
The next visit was with Forward Support Company, where Buxbaum met with most of the Soldiers who fix and maintain equipment for the engineers. The equipment continues to evolve due to the ever-changing situations on the ground, and Buxbaum was enlightened on the new equipment currently being fielded to the engineers.
"The visit by Buxbaum was significant for all Soldiers, including the warrant officers of 7th Engineers," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stanley Hutto.
The warrant officers contributed and expressed innovative ideas about the fielding of new equipment in maintenance support of the unit's combat fleet.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Buxbaum's visit left everyone here at FOB Shank encouraged, and it fostered a climate of purpose and underlying principles of the mission at hand," Hutto added.
After a long and informative visit with FSC, 20 Soldiers from the battalion were privileged to have dinner with Buxbaum at the Heroes Dining Facility. Soldiers had an opportunity to relax and talk about previous assignments. First Sgt. Kenneth Moore of HHC escorted Buxbaum throughout the visit.
"It was good for Command Sgt. Maj. Buxbaum to see the Soldiers (who) are on the ground supporting the fight," Moore said. "He was able to hear some concerns facing our future leaders and how their input will be beneficial for future success."
The same 20 Soldiers had a question-and-answer Soldiers Forum after dinner at the unit Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facility. Many topics that face the Army in the upcoming years were discussed. Buxbaum talked about the new re-enlistment policy and how no one is bigger than the Army. If you are qualified to re-enlist, you may still not be able to re-enlist due to restrictions in the new policy.
Buxbaum mainly emphasized that Soldiers can control their future military service through their actions and by setting themselves apart from their peers. He also emphasized the importance of completing the online surveys sent on Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email.
"Our Army is always changing," Buxbaum said. "Our Soldiers will determine what our Army looks like in the future; therefore, these surveys will have major impact on how our Army will look like five to 10 years from now. Do these surveys when you get them."
Army Regulation 670-1 also was a major subject of discussion. Buxbaum talked about upcoming changes and how standards throughout the Army will get tougher.
The following morning, Buxbaum met with more Soldiers during breakfast.
"I felt he took time out of his schedule for the Soldiers, where the newest members of the Army got to see firsthand how decisions are made at the highest levels, from promotions to regulations," said Sgt. 1st Class Jarvis Daigle.
Before Buxbaum left FOB Shank, he visited a building dedicated in the name of one of his Family Members killed in Afghanistan. It was a clear reminder of the sacrifice that American fighting Soldiers make, day in and day out, while deployed away from home.
(Delgado serves with Task Force Red Devils.)