200 soldiers, engineers due in city this week

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 8, 2009

About 200 soldiers and military engineers from all over the country will be in Vicksburg for sessions starting Thursday working in conjunction with the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines or with civilians in emergencies.

If you go

The 412th Theater Engineer Command’s 30th annual War-fighter seminar will be at the Vicksburg Convention Center Thursday through Sunday. On Saturday, from 9 until noon, the public is invited to see vendors and displays of military equipment. For more information, click here

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It’s a “chance for training engineers, to get them prepared for combat situations and to keep their training going,” said Maj. Jesse Stalder, a spokesman for the 412th Theater Engineer Command, the host organization. “It’s designed so that they can learn how to work in a joint environment.”

The 412th, based in Vicksburg, is a major component of the U.S. Army Reserve, and dispatches reservists worldwide.

As a component of this year’s Warfighter conference, the public can go to the Vicksburg Convention Center Saturday from 9 to noon and see vendors and displays.

Caterpillar, for example, will have training simulators used to teach soldiers to operate heavy equipment and excavate an area. Lt. Col. Tony Forte, the 412th Theater Engineer Command chief of operations, said the public will even be able to operate the simulators.

Humvees and other armored vehicles will also be on display.

“It’ll give the opportunity for the community to come out and see what people are doing over in Iraq and Afghanistan and here in the United States,” Stalder said.

Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, the commanding general of the Army Reserve, will be a keynote speaker on Saturday, along with Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre, the commander of the Gulf Region Division, and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, the commander of the 926th Engineer Brigade.

In recognition of the Army’s designation of 2009 as the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Wells will speak Saturday morning and there will be a celebration and cake-cutting. As part of the celebration, Forte said a local reenactment group will represent every era of the American Army — from the American Revolution to today.

That afternoon a seminar will be held about emergency issues for engineering, and Saturday will end with the annual Castle Ball. Forte expects about 500 people total for the weekend’s activities. Warfighter will close on Sunday with a lunch and retirement ceremonies.


Contact Andrea Vasquez at avasquez@vicksburgpost.com