Sgt. Maj. Dilworth Braithwaite (left to right), Col. Miles Gengler and Lt. Col. Bonnie Kovatch participate in the U.S. Army NATO Brigade’s semi-annual training brief during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Maj. Dilworth Braithwaite (left to right), Col. Miles Gengler and Lt. Col. Bonnie Kovatch participate in the U.S. Army NATO Brigade’s semi-annual training brief during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Command Sgt. Maj. Yveline Symonette, Allied Forces South Battalion, leads a discussion on the new Army Command Assessment Program during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. Yveline Symonette, Allied Forces South Battalion, leads a discussion on the new Army Command Assessment Program during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Master Sgt. Keeyonia Washington, Allied Forces South Battalion senior operations NCO, hands out welcome packets to Staff Sgt. Jean Ady and Staff Sgt. Collosus Nixon from U.S. Army NATO Brigade during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Master Sgt. Keeyonia Washington, Allied Forces South Battalion senior operations NCO, hands out welcome packets to Staff Sgt. Jean Ady and Staff Sgt. Collosus Nixon from U.S. Army NATO Brigade during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Max Ivulich, U.S. Army NATO Brigade G1, leads the discussion on quality of life and medical care during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Max Ivulich, U.S. Army NATO Brigade G1, leads the discussion on quality of life and medical care during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
Twelve command teams from U.S. Army NATO Brigade gathered from across Europe for the U.S. Army NATO Brigade Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Twelve command teams from U.S. Army NATO Brigade gathered from across Europe for the U.S. Army NATO Brigade Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy. (Photo Credit: Troy Darr) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army NATO Brigade command teams take a moment during the Spring Leaders’ Summit in Castel Volturno, Italy, to pose for a group photo.
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CASTEL VOLTURNO, Italy - The U.S. Army NATO Brigade held a Spring Leaders’ Summit here May 9-13 for the command teams from the brigade, two battalions and nine companies.

The Allied Forces South Battalion command and staff planned and executed the event.

“We are glad we finally got to conduct a leader’s summit,” said Lt. Col. Brian Travis, Allied Forces South Battalion commander. “This is a great opportunity for us to all get together, build some camaraderie as we share some notes and some lessons learned with each other.”

The purpose of the event was professional development and an opportunity for the command teams from across Europe to meet face-to-face.

Some highlights of the week included semi-annual training briefs from all the teams to the brigade commander, a casualty management rehearsal of concept drill, an in-depth briefing on the new Army Command Assessment Programs, and discussions on quality of life, medical care, the Army Combat Fitness Test and the new Army directive, Parenthood, Pregnancy and Postpartum.

“What an awesome group of people,” said Col. Miles Gengler, U.S. Army NATO Brigade commander. “We’ve been planning to do this for two and half years while I’ve been in command, to get together and cross-level so you can learn from each other.”

Gengler said that although all the commanders have the same mission, they are very different based on where in Europe they are located and the type of units they support.

The mission of U.S. Army NATO Brigade is to provide ready and resilient Soldiers to the NATO alliance by ensuring U.S. Army Soldiers and their families assigned to NATO billets receive the support they need to thrive in a variety of environments at 81 locations in 22 countries.

“Coming to a centralized location, being here with members from across NATO Brigade is super important for all of us, but particularly the junior leaders, the company commanders and first sergeants, because the best gift we can give them as mentors is our time,” said Lt. Col. Bonnie Kovatch, Allied Forces North Battalion commander. “I can put anything on a piece of paper and give them some feedback on how they can develop and improve on some of their weaknesses.”

“But seeing it and spending that time and all of the things that happen in between those conversations, that they get to banter with their peers. They get to see the interaction with their senior rater. They get to see their commander interact with other commanders,” she said. “All of that is something that you can’t necessarily quantify and put on an evaluation or a counseling statement, but there is so much richness in that.

“I really appreciated being able to bring some of our battalion staff, our junior S1 for example, that he got to be here and see how he fits into the organization. We get so focused on our own foxholes and lines of effort and to be able to now get the bigger picture and understand where we all fit in, how we work together, why certain information is important and where it’s coming from just really gives a lot of depth in understanding for our company grade leadership.”

Participants met every morning for physical fitness training at the Joint Forces Command Naples, and on the final day they toured historical sites related to the Battle of Monte Cassino, part of the Italian Campaign of World War II.

Capt. Tessa Barbee, HHC U.S. Army NATO Brigade commander, said the summit was an amazing opportunity to foster relationships with leaders and peers.

“This is a great event because we have such a unique mission, and we are so geographically dispersed that this is one of our few opportunities during the year to all get together, and we have great mentorship from the leaders in our unit and great discourse with our peers,” said Barbee. “It allows us an opportunity to really foster an environment of teamwork which helps us with our end goal, taking care of Soldiers and ensuring that our mission is accomplished.”