By GUIDON staffMay 4, 2017
The U.S. Army Engineer School 2017 Regimental Week came to a close Friday following a week of engineer-specific activities and professional development.
In keeping with this year's theme, "Ready Today, Capabilities Tomorrow," the Sappers focused on the future of the regiment, while also taking the time to honor the past.
The week began with the 11th Best Sapper Competition where 48, two-man teams competed to raise the coveted trophy and claim the title of "Best Sapper" team.
Despite wet and muddy conditions, 1st Lt. Luke Groom and Staff Sgt. Carlos Jimenez, representing the 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, finished first in the competition.
Both Groom and Jimenez agreed that the weather and miles traveled were tough, but not having prior knowledge of the events made it even harder.
"Not knowing what was coming next, you don't know how to allocate your energy," Groom said. "We just decided, we're going to do the best we can for as long as we can."
Brig. Gen. James Raymer, U.S. Army Engineer School commandant, spoke April 27 about the future of the engineers as it pertains to modernization on the battlefield.
The Engineer Regiment also paid tribute to fallen Soldiers during the Fallen Sapper Memorial April 27 at the World War II Chapel and Sapper Grove.
"Today, we gather to remember and honor our fallen Sappers from every war in the history of the republic. There is a small monument to my right, that covers all those wars. We are fortunate, for the second consecutive year, to not place another name on the T-walls," Raymer said in his remarks.
Raymer noted that while the U.S. has many monuments commemorating the service and sacrifice of its service members, those at Sapper Memorial Grove hold a special significance.
"Our monument and T-walls here are no less special," he said. "For those of us who have served in ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, remembering means thinking of our comrades whose names are inscribed on that wall. These names evoke memories of men and women who never returned home as we did. Those born in the future might picture them as useful Soldiers who joined up from high schools, businesses and farms across the country, only to meet death while fighting against the enemy. We remember them as they were, in some special moment when we knew them before their untimely deaths were contemplated.
"This monument was built to attest to the fact that we who knew them recognize that it was a proper thing to do, to permanently carve their names in stone so that they might never be forgotten. As we leave here today, let us give thanks that we knew such fine human beings," Raymer said.
The event is held annually to honor Soldiers whose names are inscribed on the Engineer Memorial Wall.
One of the speakers during the Friday session was Col. Frederic Drummond, FEMA Region V defense coordinating officer, who spoke about the role of engineer Soldiers on the home front and the importance of regimental week.
"(Regimental week) is that time of year when you, as an engineer, can come back and see your brothers and sisters," Drummond said.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, chief of Engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also spoke Friday, and focused on the future of warfighting and how the Engineer Regiment fits into the big picture.
"This regiment is amazing," he said. "What you guys do is unbelievable every day."
Also, on Friday, Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, provided remarks during the 10th anniversary of the Counter Explosive Hazards Center.
The week concluded with the Regimental Ball in Nutter Field House.