Geospatial Engineer Course graduates first class on Fort Leonard Wood Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Story and photo by Amy Newcomb
GUIDON staff
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Fourteen Soldiers graduated from the Geospatial Engineer Course Aug. 9 at Brown Hall, making them the first Advanced Individual Training graduates since the school began its move from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Fort Leonard Wood about eight months ago.

1st Sgt. Bryant Sturdevant, Company B, 169th Engineer Battalion, said it was an honor to be the guest speaker for the first Geospatial Engineer class graduating from Fort Leonard Wood.
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Chief Warrant 2 Michael Baber, Geospatial Engineer Course chief congratulates Pfc. Diana Cox, GEC student, as 1st Sgt. Bryant Sturdevant prepares to hand Cox her diploma during the graduation of the first Geospatial Engineer Course on Fort Leonard Wood at Brown Hall on Aug. 9.

“I know there are a lot of people not here who have put in a lot of work in moving the schoolhouse, to moving the Geospatial Engineering course to Fort Leonard Wood,” Sturdevant said. “It’s awesome. I know there are a lot of people who think it’s awesome.”

Geospatial engineers or 12Y, provide mission tailored data, tactical decision aids, and terrain visualization products that define the character of the battlefield for the maneuver commander.

“They provide the commander with common view of the terrain — terrain visualization — that enables him to visualize and describe his intent,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Jones II, Geospatial Skills Division chief.

Sturdevant addressed the graduates and said they would continue to learn many things throughout their careers and encouraged them to stay in touch with leadership and ask questions.

“I don’t think there is a single Geospatial Engineer in this field or a warrant officer in this field that will not respond to your questions,” Sturdevant said.

Jones said that typically, there are between 325-400 geospatial engineers trained per year.

“That includes all skill levels, from (Advanced Individual Training) through the (Noncommissioned Officer Education System) to the (Warrant Officer Education System),” Jones said.

Jones said for FY13, AIT students comprised the majority of the load at almost 400 students, which is an increase over previous years primarily because Soldiers have been getting out of the Army after one enlistment.

“The motivation (to leave the Army) is usually two fold: the demanding, multiple deployment environment of today’s Army and the lucrative salaries geospatial professionals command in the civilian and government sector,” Jones said. “Entry-level students leave our AIT course with the same level of education and training that most two-year college students receive. It is really at their permanent duty station where they surpass their civilian counterparts due to extensive on-the-job training, most of which is obtained in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Moving the school from Virginia to Missouri was a challenging endeavor because it required extensive logistic support to transfer workstations, instructional material and other key pieces of the school, Jones said.

“Numerous personnel from the cadre at Fort Belvoir volunteered to transfer to Fort Leonard Wood in support of the school’s move,” Jones said. “That was the most critical piece of the move, maintaining and transferring the instructor base of knowledge. Without their dedication to training the future force, our continuity of training would have been severely compromised.”

The move will be completed by November when Fort Belvoir completes its last class. So far, the move has been successful due to all levels of personnel at both Fort Belvoir and Fort Leonard Wood, Jones said.

“That will end 94 years of training topographic, now known as geospatial engineers at Fort Belvoir, and as such is the last engineer training unit to leave the installation that was once home to the Engineer School,” Jones said. “In fact, most of the senior leaders within the Engineer Regiment were trained at Fort Belvoir.”

“The students graduating in Class 009-12, represent the future of the geospatial engineer field and are the best and brightest of their generation,” he added. “They will lead the way in the coming years and future conflicts by guiding and shaping the way decisions are made and executed on the battlefield. They will help save lives of their fellow Soldiers while maximizing the effects of our maneuver, fire power, and shock effect on the enemy.”
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 August 2012 )