Engineers prep for ENFORCE 2012 at Fort Leonard Wood
April 11, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Engineers from across the globe are making their way to Fort Leonard Wood for ENFORCE 2012 "Engineers for the Wars We Fight" -- kicking off Tuesday.
Brig. Gen. Duke DeLuca, U.S. Army Engineer School commandant describes ENFORCE as the annual gathering of the senior leaders, military and civilian, of the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment.
"This is a regiment that includes over 80,000 total engineer Soldiers in the active Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard. It includes representatives of the over 30,000 civilians in the Army Corps of Engineers and other members of the Army institutional staffs as well as representative of our joint service engineer counterparts and many foreign military engineer delegations and representatives from our U.S. government interagency partners and even representatives of industry with whom we partner in the war zones and at home," DeLuca said.
"We conduct this gathering once per year to better understand the operating environment, the needed skills and capabilities of military engineers (joint, interagency, multi-national, Army, and industry), and how we will address the military challenges of our time (tactical, operational, strategic and technical) to best support military efforts," DeLuca said.
ENFORCE begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday with vendor displays opening at Nutter Field House. A steady flow of events including opportunities to build camaraderie, guest speakers and panel discussions, will continue until the regimental activities are wrapped up with a ball Saturday evening.
DeLuca feels ENFORCE is vital to the regiment because the gathering connects engineers in the field with the rest of the regiment, making a stronger Army.
"It is a focal point for feedback from the field and a catalyst for moving reforms into and through the Army's processes to make us better, faster, more capable, more knowledgeable, more versatile, and more ready and it offers an opportunity to educate ourselves and take that enhanced understanding and educate the larger Army we support about how we view the challenges and are responding to them," DeLuca said.
To DeLuca, the Fallen Sapper Memorial is an essential part of the engineer gathering because, "It is right, proper and fitting for us to recognize during our giant Family engineer gathering our fallen heroes and pay honor, respect and remembrance to them in the presence of their loved ones," he said.
"For me, it is always humbling and gratifying to be with these Families, talk with them, console as best I can while learning more and more about their remarkable Soldiers/engineers. They are justifiably proud and they make everyone who interacts with them proud to be in the same regiment as their loved ones," DeLuca said.
While some Engineers are taking part in the regimental activities in the cantonment area, others will be deep in the training areas of Fort Leonard Wood vying for the title of Best
"The tribe has to recognize its best, to encourage emulation from the rest. We present awards at both the awards luncheon and the Regimental Ball for the best engineer units, the best engineer Soldiers, the best engineer NCOs, the best engineer officers, etc. It is perfect to have the best Sapper competition here, and recognize them too, at the home of the engineers, in front of all the senior leaders of the regiment," DeLuca said.
As the USAES commandant for only about five months, DeLuca is looking forward to be presenting ENFORCE this year.
"I never expected to have the opportunity to serve the regiment as the commandant. So, it is an unexpected joy for me to be the host for this conference and event, to play a significant role in it and to be able to shape its agenda to really bite into the challenges of today, of this minute, for the regiment. It is just an awesome opportunity for which I will be forever grateful," DeLuca said.
"As always, I most look forward to meeting up with and seeing many old comrades and colleagues and getting once again the benefit of their experiences and insights, directly, face-to-face. We will do business, mourn our fallen and celebrate our achievements, recognize our best and enjoy being together in the best place to live on earth, the USA," DeLuca added.
For more information, including a schedule of events visit www.wood. army.mil/wood_cms/ usaes/1967.shtml.