The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is excited to be part of the 2014 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Conference and Exposition. We will spend the majority of our time in Washington D.C. relaying the story of the Fort Leonard Wood region to our elected officials and senior Department of Defense personnel. There are a number of great things happening on and around Fort Leonard Wood and we are ready to let everyone know why this is the best installation in the United States Army! Monday, October 13:
Our team had an incredible start to the 2014 AUSA Annual Conference! Opening ceremonies were held this morning and from the very beginning, this year’s theme “Trusted Professionals – Today and Tomorrow,” was evident. We were welcomed by AUSA President GEN Gordon Sullivan and Secretary of the Army Honorable John McHugh. During the Opening Ceremonies, former Fort Leonard Wood AUSA Chapter President CSM Rick Morris received the SMA William Bainbridge Noncommissioned Officer Medal. He is only the second member of the FLW chapter to have received an individual award in 60 years.
The day continued with multiple luncheons and forums. Members of our staff attended the Corporate Member Luncheon, as well as the U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Recognition Luncheon.
A number of educational forums were offered to conference attendees today, as well. LTG Horoho spoke about the future of Army medicine at the first Family Forum and many Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers attended multiple forums that focused on professionalism and ethics.
The day concluded with the Fort Leonard Wood AUSA Chapter Dinner at Clyde’s in Washington D.C. Everyone enjoyed great food and drinks!
Today was just the beginning of our time here at AUSA. Tomorrow we’ll be ready for the Congressional Breakfast at 8 a.m. and conclude the day by helping to host the AUSA chapter’s hospitality suite. Check back tomorrow for more pictures!
Tuesday, October 14:
Tuesday was, by far, the busiest day we had at the AUSA conference. We began bright and early on Tuesday morning by attending the local AUSA chapter's Congressional Breakfast. The event was held at the Senate Russell Office Building and it was hosted by United States Senator Roy Blunt. Our guest speaker was TRADOC Commander GEN David Perkins. Both provided very relevant, timely remarks that provided insight into where the Army, and especially TRADOC installations, are headed in the future. After the formal part of the event concluded, both Senator Blunt and GEN Perkins spent time talking with Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers and finding out more about what they do on a daily basis.
After this event, we returned to the convention center to attend additional forums and tour the exhibition halls. Members of our staff attended the ILW Contemporary Military Forum, Resilient Installations: A Platform for Power Projection, the Department of Homeland Security Seminar: Defense Support to Civil Authorities: Responding to America's Worst Day, and the AUSA Military Family Forum II, Family Transitions: Supporting You Through Your Military Life's Journey.
Many from Fort Leonard Wood were also able to attend the Eisenhower Luncheon on Tuesday. Not only were we able to hear U.S. Army Chief of Staff GEN Raymond Odierno speak about how the Army is continuing to prepare and win in a complex environment.
"Over the past year our Soldiers and leaders have been leading the Army through dynamic times of change, fiscal uncertainty, and in a time where the velocity of instability is ever increasing throughout the world, our whole volunteer Army remains on point meeting our diverse commitments around the world," said Odierno.
During this luncheon, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Miller received his award for being named the 2014 Drill Sergeant of the Year. The award was presented to SSG Miller by GEN Odierno and Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler. This incredible honor will allow Miller move into a new position and be part of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
The day concluded with the Fort Leonard Wood Mid Missouri and St. Louis Gateway AUSA Chapters hosting a special hospitality suite. The event kicked off with a special visit by Medal of Honor recipient and retired Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins. Many of our Soldiers were able to shake hands with this hero and thank him for his bravery and service.
As the 399th Army Band from Fort Leonard Wood began to play, the event really got started. Everyone enjoyed great food and drinks and all of the Soldiers had a great time meeting regional community leaders and previous Fort Leonard Wood military leaders. We were fortunate enough to have GEN Perkins, TRADOC Command Sergeant Major Daniel Dailey, and their wives join us for a good part of the evening. They were greeted by community leaders, but the highlight of the night was when our Soldiers were presented with coins by GEN Perkins and were able to spend more time with him and CSM Daily. GEN Perkins and CSM Daily encouraged the soldiers to ask questions and provide honest feedback about their experience in the Army. Our Soldiers did an incredible job asking insightful questions and engaging their senior leaders. We were so happy that our Soldiers were able to have this awesome experience.
Wednesday, October 15:
Wednesday wrapped up our time at the AUSA conference this year. We were able to take part in the 5th Region Breakfast hosted by 5th Region President Doug Stuart. The local Fort Leonard Wood Mid Missouri AUSA Chapter picked up a number of awards this year! We are very proud of the work that they have done and we are a proud sustaining sponsor of their organization.
Our guest speaker was the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley. He provided a firm reminder to all of us that our number one priority should always be to serve the service members and their families; to never forget the sacrifices that they make for our great nation. It was an excellent message and the perfect way to send us back to Missouri to continue our mission.