By Mr. Robert P Johnson (Leonard Wood)November 25, 2013
The commander of the U. S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., visited Fort Leonard Wood Friday to meet with senior leaders and speak at an Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course graduation.
Lt. Gen. David Perkins met with Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, and one-on-one with each of the Chemical, Engineer and Military Police schools commandants in addition to serving as guest speaker for the Engineer Basic Leadership Course Class 10-13 graduation.
Perkins told the class that he was going to discuss three things with them; the future of the Army and the technology available, their role with that new technology, and some doctrine issues as the lieutenants employ the technology.
"First, everyone wants to know about the future of the Army and they ask 'Will we still be cutting edge with our technology?'" Perkins said.
"We have developed a weapons system that is a smart weapon system that is all-weather, all-terrain, multi-purpose and can be deployed anywhere on a moment's notice, and the good news is that I have spoken with each of your new assignments and everyone of you will get this weapon system," Perkins said to the EBOLC class. "The weapon system is the U.S. Army Soldier and every one of you will get to lead this system. Some of you will get some battle-hardened units and some will get new systems right off the assembly line, but most of you will get a mix of battle-tested and newly minted Soldiers in your formation."
"One of our issues is power, and there are so many different types of power. There's solar, but it doesn't work well at night; there's wind, but that's unreliable, but the good news is that we have figured it all out for this new weapon system -- the Soldier gets his power a thing called 'leadership,'" the general continued.
"This fuel to run this system doesn't come from the sands of the desert, doesn't come from the sun, it comes from you," Perkins told the class. "You are the source of the fuel that is going to power these weapons systems that are going to be dominate in the world and on the battlefield."
"Your enabling of these Soldiers will allow them to accomplish the mission, regardless of where or when. Your leadership is the fuel," Perkins said.
Perkins continued and reminded the officers of their special application to the U.S. Army.
"We ask you to build a bridge, we ask you to tear it down; we ask you to breach an obstacle, we ask you to emplace an obstacle; we ask you to fight an infantry….we sort of just dump these requirements in your rucksack because you are special -- you are an engineer. You're sort of the Swiss army knife of the Army … the multi-faceted, smart weapon system on the battlefield," Perkins said.
"Each and every day, you will be providing the energy to your Soldiers, and every day, the energy you provide to them through your leadership will be returned to you ten-fold," Perkins said.
Perkins said he was once told by a general from another nation that the loyalty of American Soldiers is to their duty, even if costs them their lives.
Perkins said there are people around the world who don't know what we teach here, but know that an American Soldier is loyal to their duty.
"They also know that where ever an American Soldier goes, they are about to make history and they know that the American Soldier will leave things better than when they found it," Perkins said.
"And that is your role as a second lieutenant," Perkins told the graduates. "You are ready to empower that dominant weapons system."
Upon conclusion of his talk, Perkins handed out graduation certificates to members of the EBOLC class 10-13, to include his son, 2nd Lt. Chad Perkins.