The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence celebrates 20 years of existence Friday with a 4:30 p.m. retreat ceremony at MSCoE Plaza, followed by a traditional Army Twilight Tattoo by the 399th Army Band.
Stood up Oct. 1, 1999, as the Maneuver Support Center —which came to be known as MANSCEN — the organization has provided a unique way of organizing and staffing the installation to conduct training, doctrine development and force integration as the Military Police and Chemical schools joined the Engineer school here when Fort McClellan, Alabama, closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure program.
The center was re-designated the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence in 2009 to highlight Fort Leonard Wood’s role in leading trainees toward their goals.
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers and Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Dils, the first commanding general and command sergeant major to serve under the MANSCEN umbrella, are scheduled to attend.
The entire installation, to include families, are welcome and encouraged to come out and enjoy the ceremony and tattoo. Everyone is reminded to bring lawn chairs.
Thousands participate in historic week
1999 MANSCEN stand-up, dedications, concerts attracted throngs of visitors to FLW
Photos and story elements originally printed in the Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, and Oct. 7, 1999 GUIDONs
Take the rest of the day off, was the order Maj. Gen. Robert Flowers gave the troops. Flowers’ directive was issued in response to the post reaching a major milestone, the standing up of the Maneuver Support Center on Oct. 1, 1999.
The journey toward MANSCEN began in 1995, when the Department of the Army, with the concurrence of Congress, decided to close Fort McClellan, Alabama. The decision to move the U.S. Army’s Chemical and Military Police schools located there to Fort Leonard Wood resulted.
Four years and $220 million dollars later, the post officially welcomed MANSCEN with a week-long inauguration.
The activities kicked off Sept. 27, 1999, with a run that began at the MANSCEN Headquarters Plaza. The 8,000 participants in the run ranged from trainees with just weeks in service to veterans with more than 30 years vested.
The week culminated with the biggest ceremony in post history. More than 4,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines poured onto Gammon Field in front of an audience estimated at 6,000.
Lt. Gen. William Steele, commanding general for the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, uncased the MANSCEN colors and passed them to Flowers.
“What a great day for a ceremony and for Fort Leonard Wood,” Steele said. “The Maneuver Suport Center is now a reality.”
“(The Golden Knights), the U.S. Army’s parachute team, are descending upon the post from our C-130 Friendship aircraft at an altitude of 12,500 feet,” said Sgt. Rob Cairas, as fellow team members floated down to Earth.
Other inauguration week activities included the Sgt. George Dalton Libby Complex dedication, the Chemical Defense Training Facility’s and Chemical Allied Training Facility’s dedications and open houses, unit training demonstrations, and a tour and demonstration of the military police training facility, Stem Village.
Other festivities were the dedication of the Military Police’s new training center, the Sgt. Michael Grieve Complex, and the Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection Team activation.
In addition, the Gen. Maxwell Thurman Hall was memorialized. It is the headquarters for the Chemical School, Military Police School and the MANSCEN Noncommissioned Officers Academy.
Those interested could take one-hour guided bus tours during the standup week, showing them training areas and the newly-constructed MANSCEN units, said Capt. Carol McArthur, Garrison Command executive officer.
The post’s annual Oktoberfest also commenced. German bands, pony rides, sumo wrestling, a tough-man competition and a canine contest were among the many attractions offered.
Wrapping up the week-long celebration was a concert by country singer Martina McBride, who performed at the 58th Transportation Battalion’s motor pool.