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Lead the way.

I want to begin by thanking all of you who supported this year's ENFORCE Conference and made it such a great success. It was good to see all of the Regiment's leaders again, back here at the home of the Engineers, engaged in the shaping of our future in support of our transforming Army.

I especially want to thank the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) for taking time out of his arduous schedule to be a part of the Council of Sergeants Major. His presence during our conference was historic, and the insights he has on what's important in our Army, its future, and the initiatives being worked were of great value to us all. Some might believe that the position of SMA is one of merely a figurehead that symbolically represents the enlisted force. SMA Tilley demonstrates to the entire Army that he is much more than that. He tirelessly works a multitude of issues that guide the future of our Army and impact quality of life, training, and standards in an extremely positive way. He is genuinely committed to our soldiers and this nation and is a great credit to our corps of noncommissioned officers.

One of the aspects of ENFORCE that is extremely important to the future of our Regiment is the interaction that results when we all come together on common ground. This year proved to be very beneficial because we were able to extract recommendations on important issues such as professional and personal development for all soldiers, assignment and training considerations, promotion considerations, and force structure and equipment modernization. One area in particular was the feedback we collected and incorporated into the proponent guidance handbooks that we prepare for every centralized board proceeding. With the recommendations we received from the Council of Sergeants Major, we were able to make some last-minute updates to the FY02 Sergeant First Class promotion board, which convened on 1 June 2002. Although we will continue to review trends that affect promotion opportunities within the Regiment, it is important that all leaders review the proponent guidance posted on the Engineer School Web page and of fer feedback on change.

Last year, we performed a groundbreaking ceremony for the Sapper Memorial as part of our ENFORCE Conference. During this year's conference, we announced the new location of the memorial and presented details on its construction. I am happy to report that construction will begin soon, and the proposed completion date is 17 August 2002. In addition, the Army Engineer Association has begun contract negotiations for the Sapper statue that will be positioned at the entrance of the facility. The memorial will be used for Rites of Passage ceremonies, among other Regimental events, and will be a great addition to the installation.

As you all know, the Army and this nation lost a great American and Engineer with the passing of SMA(R) Leon L. Van Autreve in March of this year. Those of you who knew Van (as his friends called him) know that he loved this country; was committed to soldiers, their families, and their quality of life; and dedicated his life to making a difference. He was a very respected, articulate, profound man whose love of life was infectious and transcended all he did and was a part of. In his memory, I have proposed that we honor an outstanding Engineer soldier, the same way we do the Sturgis awardees, and present an annual award, named after SMA(R) Leon L. Van Autreve, to our Regiment's most outstanding Active and Reserve Component soldier (PVT thin SPC). The Army Engineer Association has gained sponsorship for the award, and we will work diligently to ensure that it is ready for unveiling by next year's ENFORCE Conference. I have communicated with Mrs. Rita Van Autreve, Van's widow, and she is very supportive and ex cited about our desire to do this. The award will be a great honor to those outstanding soldiers who truly represent our Regiment in everything they do across our Army.

In closing, I want to impress upon you the importance of all the hard work you, your units, and your soldiers do, and the hard work that goes on here at Fort Leonard Wood. How vital what we do collectively is to the future of our Regiment and the Army! Engineers are literally everywhere, and the influence we have as a Regiment is evident all over the world. I am proud to have been an Engineer and a Sapper for more than 30 years. And I'm grateful for the experiences that being an Engineer has brought to me and that I have shared with many of you.

ESSAYONS--Engineers Lead the Way!
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Title Annotation:US Army ENFORCE conference
Author:Command Sergeant Major Robinson, Robert R.
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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