Colorado Springs' leadership tour Fort Carson
March 15, 2013
The tour began in the morning at the Elkhorn Lodge, where local community leaders met with each other and sat down to eat breakfast with Anderson, who welcomed the distinguished visitors to the post.
"Thank you for coming to join us," said Anderson. "We appreciate the partnership, and we here on Fort Carson feel that we are a part of Colorado Springs. That's why it's very important we get to know and interact with you."
Fort Carson holds a Leadership Carson tour every quarter to strengthen 4th Inf. Div.'s partnership with the local community and foster a growing relationship between the Mountain Post and the Front Range community.
Following breakfast, the tour group visited the 4th Inf. Div. Headquarters, where Anderson spoke about leadership, the units assigned to Fort Carson, and training, both on post and in the surrounding community.
"We've trained, deployed, and sent people all over the map," said Anderson. "Now that we've returned, we're going back to the fundamentals of leader development, accountability, programs and systems to put ourselves together again and sustain over the long haul."
Fort Carson trains its leaders to perform to the best of their ability, so they can train Soldiers to be successful in the Army's overall mission, said Anderson.
Finishing the meeting with the commanding general, the tour group moved to the Training Support Center, where they experienced a little part of a day in the life of a Soldier, receiving hands-on Army training.
The group participated in a class where they learned the rules and procedures a forward observer needs to follow to call for fire and also learned about different types of improvised explosive devices and the measures the Army employs to counter IEDs.
"By the end of this tour, we hope community leaders gain a greater appreciation of the military and their Families, their sacrifices, how Soldiers train, equipment used, and finally, how Soldiers impact the local community as a whole," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Manny Ortiz, 4th Inf. Div. fires coordinator, Company A, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Inf. Div.
The group's excitement began to really show during marksmanship training at the Engagement Simulator 2000. Each participant received the opportunity to shoot at simulated targets on the wall-sized screen at the training center using an M16 training rifle.
"The weapon simulators were amazing. I never realized how heavy the weapons were," said Sonia Esquivel, academic advisor and assistant professor of Spanish, U.S. Air Force Academy. "This tour has given me insight and a greater appreciation for Soldiers and what they do."
The tour then headed to the Robert C. Stack Jr. dining facility for an Army lunch. As an added surprise during the meal, community leaders each paired with a noncommissioned officer or junior officer to talk to them about their experiences in the Army.
"My favorite part of this entire day was lunch," said Greg Welch, senior vice president, Compass Bank. "I sat down with Soldiers who have seen multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and talked about their experiences; and got the opportunity to thank them for everything they have done.
"The simulations and vehicles were great to see, but really being able to interact with the Soldiers had the biggest impact on me," Welch said.
After lunch, the group went to 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.'s motor pool to tour a static display of military vehicles.
Esquivel said she couldn't believe that four people could fit into an M1A2 Abrams tank when she climbed onto one to get an inside look
"In general, being able to not only see but climb inside all the tanks and vehicles was exciting," Esquivel said.
The group visited the Survivor Outreach Services and then made their way back to The Hub to conclude their tour. Anderson hosted a graduation ceremony where each key leader received a certificate and became 4th Inf. Div. alumni, allowing them to visit Fort Carson whenever they choose.
"Growing up in Colorado Springs, I've always had a great appreciation for the military, but I think when people look at the Air Force Academy, they look at Fort Carson a bit differently," said Welch. "But Fort Carson is not a small base. It has always been welcoming to the community, and is a huge part of what Colorado Springs is."