The 1st Engineer Brigade was recognized as the unit that best exceeded their fiscal year 2015 retention goals at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood annual retention awards ceremony held Jan. 7 in the Pershing Community Center.

The 14th Military Police Brigade, 3rd Chemical Brigade, 43rd Adjutant General Battalion, MSCoE Noncommissioned Officers Academy and General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital also received recognition for exceeding or achieving their mission across all retention categories.

"We have more talent, more experience and more knowledge in our Army today than we have ever had," said Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. "Those great men and women who serve on our team here, we have to make sure that we retain them. That retention mission is as important as anything else we do here at Fort Leonard Wood."

Sgt. 1st Class Robert DePontee, former career counselor for 1st Engr. Bde., said this accomplishment started last fiscal year, when the then command sergeant major asked why they were not getting the large-trophy statue.

"It started at the end of fiscal year 2014, when we developed the battalion retention programs," he said. "Once we got the teams established, it just started to fall into place."

That started DePontee on the path to achieve what 1st Engr. Bde. hadn't done in more than five years.

"It makes me feel really good, because I honestly believed it could not be done by the engineer brigade," DePontee said. "The engineer brigade is so large, in order for us to over produce is difficult."

Col. Heather Warden, 1st Engr. Bde. commander, gave credit to the Soldiers.

"We have excellent quality of Soldiers in the brigade," Warden said. "We only bring the best here to train our future. Across the brigade, we have about 1,200 military members; every one of them are high quality."

In addition to the top organizations receiving awards, Staff Sgt. Angel Alvarez, MSCoE NCOA; Staff Sgt. Adrian Lang, 3rd Chemical Bde.; Sgt. Wesley Hollis, 3rd Chem. Bde; Sgt. Benjamin Kuper, 1st Engr. Bde.; Sgt. Jazmine Murphy, 14th MP Bde.; Sgt. Chrisanta Jaggers, GLWACH; Spc. Lemuel Petitcompere, 43rd AG Bn. and Spc. Robert Chamberlain, 5th Engineer Battalion, were recognized for recently reenlisting or transferring into the reserve component. Eight career counselors; Sgt. 1st Class Joe Maynor, 14th MP Bde.; Sgt. 1st Class James Eadie, 3rd Chem. Bde.; Sgt. 1st Class Richard Fiorucci, 1st Engr. Bde.; DePontee; Sgt. 1st Class McGarett Lansiquot, Reserve Component; Staff Sgt. Michael Ramos, GLWACH; Staff Sgt. Matthew Acosta, NCOA and Sgt. Daniel Trujillo, 43rd AG Bn., were recognized for their work in managing their unit retention programs.

Savre highlighted the importance of the Soldiers choosing to remain in the Army and the job the career counselors do.

"As we have these concerns about a smaller Army, the one thing we shouldn't be concerned about is the quality of our Army," Savre said.