By Spc. Aislinn M. Amig, 18th Eng. Bde. Public AffairsApril 1, 2010
HEIDELBERG, Germany - More than 300 Soldiers from across U.S. Army Europe and select individuals from the Army's engineer branch came together to participate in the Maneuver Support Conference March 24-26 at Patrick Henry Village here.
Engineer, infantry and sustainment command leaders shared their lessons learned from previous deployments as well as their experiences in garrison at the conference, which was sponsored by the 18th Engineer Brigade.
"This conference is about training and going back to the unit to apply it," said Col. Paul M. Paolozzi, the commander of the 18th Eng. Bde., at the start of the conference. "It is only when you apply what you learn that it becomes useful."
Top leaders from around the Army were present, including Brig. Gen. Bryan Watson, the commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, and Command Sgt. Maj. Micheal L. Buxbaum, the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Members of the German army were also in attendance to share their partnership experiences with the U.S. Army engineers. German army Col. Otto Radlmeier, the director of the Military Engineering Center of Excellence, discussed the mission of his organization and how its purpose is to direct interoperability of military engineering.
A Brigade Combat Team commanders' panel featured infantry and sustainment brigade commanders, who shared their experiences in a deployed environment and gave suggestions on how to better utilize engineer forces in a unit's area of operations.
Audience members also had the chance to gain knowledge from a route clearance panel, which featured platoon leaders and other officers from the 4th and 9th Engineer battalions. These leaders shared their deployment experiences and touched on aspects in the garrison environment, which leaders should strive to improve upon.
"Have duplicity in everything you do; ensure your systems have two belly buttons - a primary and an alternate," said Maj. Carrington Stoffels, the 9th Eng. Bn.'s plans and operations officer, during his brief.
After three days of sharing experiences and interacting with members of the German army, the leaders agreed that they were able to gain valuable knowledge from their counterparts and implement the lessons learned in their daily operations. As Paolozzi said in his introductory speech, "No sane commander would go into combat without the engineers."