Army Engineers are sappers, mappers, divers, firefighters, geospatial technicians, vertical/horizontal construction specialists, among other subject-matter experts who ensure the Engineer Regiment is prepared to provide engineer support now and into the future.
These men and women voluntarily enlist or commission as an officer in the Army. Officers earn their commissions through the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Officer Candidate School, direct commission or the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations Maj. Gen. Anthony Funkhouser – a West Point graduate, and Louisville District Commander Col. Antoinette Gant – a ROTC graduate, represented the Engineer Regiment in speaking to ROTC cadets at the U.S. Army Cadet Command Branch Orientation at Fort Knox’s Keyes Park, July 1.
The Engineer Regiment’s Funkhouser and Gant tag-teamed to recruit future officers into the Army Engineer Family.
Col. Gant walked the cadets through her 25-year Army career of leadership assignments at platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels, and while deployed, and she pressed them to make the most of opportunities to lead in tough situations.
“As a second lieutenant, do the best job you can as a platoon leader. I was a cadet, and I know what it’s like to be in your shoes,” Gant said. “I commanded a combat support engineer company at NTC (where) we supported units in ‘the box.’”
According to army.mil, the National Training Center is known for its tough, realistic training, unforgiving terrain and uncluttered space to hone warrior skills. It prepares units for their “worst day ever” in combat, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Though the engineers are trained for the rigors of clearing the way, Funkhouser said there are opportunities aplenty along the path.
“I’ve been in the Army for 35 years. The Engineer Regiment is truly a great regiment, and this is the branch of opportunity,” Funkhouser said. “Sappers, mappers, divers, firefighters, and geospatial technicians … there are great broadening opportunities for us to bounce between blowing things up, construction, working with divers, geospatial (engineering). We send you to train with (civilian) industry, so you are prepared for your after Army life.”
Funkhouser told how both the Army and engineer Soldiers benefit from internships with civilian engineering firms.
“The Army has paid (engineer officers) to go work at Caterpillar® and learn all the things they are doing in industry,” Funkhouser said. “(When they come) back to us, we use those experiences to make a better Regiment.”
Gant said the Engineer Corps stands apart from other branches because the breadth of experience that engineer Soldiers might build over their career.
“How many other branches (not only) allow you to function as a Soldier and to support the warfighters but also allows you to do things on the (civilian) side that are important to our nation,” Gant said.
“Our branch is the lifecycle branch – beginning to end. We try to set (you) up for success beyond the Army,” Funkhouser said. “We are invested in you. You are our legacy. We’re picking the best and brightest because when we’re gone you carry on our legacy.”
“I’m not sure there are very many that can touch the Engineer Corps,” Gant added.
ROTC Cadet Summer Training senior leader engagements are slated to continue until Aug. 15 at Fort Knox.