FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Service members and civilians come from all over the world to train at Fort Leonard Wood, and last week, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Kansas City District visited the installation to experience a small taste of Army life for themselves.
As participants in USACE’s annual Leadership Development Program, the 12 civilians here Oct. 5 to 7 were each issued the Army Combat Uniform before touring facilities, and watching and participating in some of the training Soldiers get.
According to Alex Ubben, one of the event organizers at USACE, the goal of the LDP is to build camaraderie, communication and leadership skills while also learning more about the Army.
“The participants come from a variety of roles in USACE,” Ubben said. “The visit to Fort Leonard Wood helps increase their awareness of the duties of the Army Engineers, Army leadership, and provides insight into military life.”
The scheduled events, Ubben said, included an introduction to some of what Soldiers learn at Basic Combat Training; an overview of some of the trainings Army officers attend here; a tour of the Army Engineer Museum and the new hospital construction site; demonstrations on demolitions and heavy equipment operations; an introduction to aspects of Army Diver training; and completion of the Army Combat Fitness Test and the Team Development Course.
One of the attendees was Rachel Saak, an architect working on a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction project in St. Louis. She has been with USACE a little more than two years, and, with no military experience, Saak said it was “eye opening” to learn more about the Army and Fort Leonard Wood.
“This was a good learning experience, taking me away from my little corner in construction and having a view of all the different aspects of the corps and the Army,” Saak said.
One of the highlights for Saak, who said she exercises regularly, was experiencing the ACFT.
“It was great to see — to understand how those workouts translate onto the battlefield,” she said.
Ben Schreiber, a mechanical engineer at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, has been with USACE for 12 years. He said he applied for the LDP because it’s important for USACE personnel to understand what Army life is like for the Soldiers they serve.
“I haven’t served in the military, so this is my brief introduction,” he said. “The more we understand about the issues Soldiers and their families face, the better we can do at including things into buildings we do to give better quality of life and better training opportunities.”
Schreiber said he was impressed by the drill sergeants and the instructors, who were not like the picture he had in mind.
“They were very professional,” he said. “Everything they do in the training environment has a purpose, to develop that muscle memory — it was impressive to see.”
For the 12 selectees, the visit to Fort Leonard Wood is the first part of the LDP USACE conducts each fiscal year, Ubben said. Throughout the year, they will continue to develop their leadership skills through classroom training, independent study, leadership shadowing and team-building activities.
For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, visit www.nwk.usace.army.mil.