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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Engineers Conduct Officer Professional Development, in Theater Operations

By Army 1st Lt. Kenya V. Saenz
Task Force Pacemaker Public Affairs Office

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Combat Engineer officers conducted a professional development exercise to enhance their knowledge of Afghanistan’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s histories.

The Fort Lewis, Wash., based 864th Engineers got a chance to see some of the current Afghan Engineer District projects, as well as the overall mission of the Corps of Engineers.

“Our mission is to conduct construction and engineering operations in Afghanistan to facilitate the establishment of a secure and stable environment, while promoting reconstitution and infrastructure development,” said Army Col. William E. Bulen, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District, in his briefing to the officers.

The officers went to Kabul to study and reflect on the first Afghan-Anglo war during the 1840s. Army Lt. Col. Mark Deschenes, commander of Task Force Pacemaker, analyzed the battle in Bala Hissar, which according to Wikipedia was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting between Afghan and British forces, demonstrating its significance to Afghanistan and its relative parallels to today’s struggle. The Pacemakers also visited the Bala Hissar site to further analyze the fortress’ structural engineering and the events of the war.

“Taking into consideration the length of deployments today, we spend more time deployed than at home station,” said Deschenes. “It is critical to execute officer professional development; it’s an opportunity to grow as leaders and to empower subordinates as they step up and take charge.”

Photo - Kristi L. Acuff, quality control engineer for the Afghan Engineer distrtict, briefs soldiers about the quality assurance of a project from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Photo by 1st Lt. Kenya V. Saenz.

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