USAES hosts Engineer Week events

Brian Hill, Special to The Rolla Daily News
USA TODAY NETWORK
Col. Daniel Hibner, U.S. Army Engineer School commandant (right), and USAES Command Sgt. Maj. John Brennan lay a wreath at the Engineer Memorial during the Fallen Sapper Tribute ceremony Aug. 26 at Memorial Grove. The event was part of Engineer Regimental Week, which took place from Aug. 23 to 27. Photo by Stephen Standifird, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

The U.S. Army Engineer School hosted Engineer Regimental Week from Aug. 23 to 27.

This year’s theme was ‘Modernizing the Engineer Regiment for 2035.’

While COVID-19 mitigation protocols impacted the traditional schedule for the second year in a row, many events were still able to be held with virtual capabilities and limited in-person attendance.

“I’m happy we were able to move important priorities for the Engineer Regiment and the Army forward despite the challenges of the current COVID-19 environment,” said Col. Daniel Hibner, USAES commandant. “We were able to recognize outstanding Army Engineers, share information that helps synchronize the regiment, and cover important relevant topics for senior leaders. And of course, and so importantly, we were able to remember and honor the 385 Engineers who made the ultimate sacrifice for a grateful nation during (Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom).”

Fallen Sapper Tribute

Fort Leonard Wood honored fallen Engineers during the Fallen Sapper Tribute ceremony Aug. 26 at Memorial Grove. The ceremony included a history of Army Engineers and a moment of silence for Sappers who have died in service to the country.

Hibner spoke on the importance of remembering the generation of Sappers before who paved the way for those serving now.

“We honor their courage, their commitment to duty, and their willingness to stand up and fight for all of us, especially when so few are willing or able to answer that call,” he said. “We will always remember that they paid the price for our freedoms, because freedom is not and will never be free.”

Hibner and USAES Command Sgt. Maj. John Brennan laid a wreath at the Engineer Memorial. A detail fired three volleys and a bugler played taps to close out the ceremony.

Senior Engineer Leadership Council

On Friday, the Senior Engineer Leadership Council was held in Lincoln Hall Auditorium, where the regiment looked at ways to ready and modernize the force by sharing information, documenting lessons learned and comparing best practices. The SELC also provided an opportunity for the leaders of the Engineer Regiment to build consensus on critical issues.

Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon — who participated virtually — and Hibner provided their State of the Regiment remarks as part of the SELC, where they outlined their priorities and discussed the future for the regiment.

Following the State of the Regiment, Hibner was presented the Silver de Fleury medal. Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division commander, presided over the ceremony, where Hibner was recognized for “superior service to the United States Army Engineer Regiment as it supports the Army to assure mobility, enhance protection, enable expeditionary logistics and build capacity in order to provide commanders with the freedom of action required for full spectrum operations in an era of persistent conflict.”

Regimental Awards

The regiment also held their annual awards ceremony Friday with limited in-person attendance at the Engineer Regimental Room in the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex.

The Itschner Award recognizes the most outstanding Army Engineer company in each Army Component — active duty, Reserve and National Guard. This year, the active-duty award was presented to the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the Reserve award was presented to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 391st Engineer Battalion, Vicksburg, Mississippi; and the National Guard award was presented to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 206th Engineer Battalion, Owensboro, Kentucky.

The 2020 Outstanding Platoon Leader Award was presented to 1st Lt. Ander Thompson, 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii (active duty); 1st Lt. Kyle Dougherty, 327th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 367th Engineer Battalion, Saint Joseph, Minnesota (Reserve); and 2nd Lt. John Cecconi, 207th Engineer Construction Company, 201st Engineer Battalion, Richmond, Kentucky (National Guard).

The 2020 Outstanding Warrant Officer Awards were presented to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rene Veliz, Maintenance Company, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cody Schmidt, 945th Engineer Detachment, 367th Engineer Battalion, Saint Joseph, Minnesota (Reserve); and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Irvin, 1022nd Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 527th Engineer Battalion, Ruston, Louisiana (National Guard).

The Sturgis Medal — recognizing noncommissioned officers for their outstanding contributions to military engineering — was presented to Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Acuna, Maintenance Company, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (active duty); Sgt. Trey Webb, 327th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 367th Engineer Battalion, Saint Joseph, Minnesota (Reserve); and Staff Sgt. Shayne Lipp, 200th Engineer Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion, Pierre, South Dakota (National Guard).

The 2020 Van Autreve Award — recognizing junior enlisted Soldiers for their outstanding contributions to military engineering — was presented to Spc. Nathan Orenstein, Company A, 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Campbell, Kentucky (active duty); Spc. Anthony Hanto, 327th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, 367th Engineer Battalion, Saint Joseph, Minnesota (Reserve); and Spc. Jacob Hernandez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion, Pierre, South Dakota (National Guard).

The 2020 Outstanding Civilian Award was presented to Ronald Smith, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood (active duty), and Michael Vosen, 327th Engineer Brigade, Fort Snelling, Minnesota (Reserve).