Military engineers gather in city to discuss their roles in combat

Published 12:46 pm Friday, June 17, 2011

Since Wednesday, a group of more than 250 people has been gathered at the Vicksburg Convention Center to learn about the roles of engineers during combat.

The program by the 412th Theater Engineer Command is a training session for members of the U.S. Armed Services preparing for deployment or just coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq.

“The purpose is to make sure everyone is as ready as they can be,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cook from Gulfport. “We’re giving them the knowledge to be aware of what is going on and be prepared for when they get over there.”

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The crowd is made up of military engineers, architects and other contractors from areas east of the Mississippi River.

At the conference, attendees heard presentations on everything from logistics to utilization of resources on the battlefield.

Major General William M. Buckler, Jr. is the Commanding General for the 412th Theater Engineer Command, and after spending a year in Afghanistan, knows just how important the conference can be in teaching those about to deploy.

“A lot of times you hear things, but what you hear becomes much more important when you know you’ll be deployed in a short time,” Buckler said. “We want them to understand the whole picture and work as a team.”

Another focus of the conference is teaching different branches of the military how to interact with each other.

“We all have different roles and some nuances are different, but we are more the same,” said Marine Lt. Col. Dave Nicholson from Camp Lejune, N.C. “We’re all just glad to be here.”

The program will continue through Saturday with more sessions, a battlefield tour and a closing speaker and social event.