The Army Engineer Association (AEA) which provides its members with an with an Army Engineer network for life is a membership-based, non-profit organization specifically organize to facilitate functions such as cohesion, interaction, and networking within the United States Army Corps of Engineers total family of soldiers, civilians, family members, and alumni. The Engineer Regiment is a component part of the total Army regimental system which perpetuates the history, honors, and traditions of all units and organizations assigned to a specific functional area. The Engineer Regiment includes those currently serving, and veterans who served honorably for any length of time. The AEA in partnerships with other organization provides as well as sponsors multiple awards programs to benefit Soldiers and Civilians in the Corps Engineer community. These awards are the highest awards possible one can receive at the Engineer Regiment levels. Each year AEA and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) sponsors six awards to recognize the most outstanding contributions from the U.S. Army Engineer community to include members of the Active, National Guard and Reserve branch (Renmark, 2019). Some of the awards sponsored include the de Fleury Medal, the Van Autreve Award, and the Outstanding Civilian Awards, and much more. The awards listed will be the sorely focus of this essay.
The de Fleury Medal which is awarded to those that significantly contributed to the Engineer Regiment is to honor and recognized those who’s hard work and dedication to duty has greatly impacted the Army Engineering. The medal is named after a French Engineer Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury, a French engineer who served with the American Army in its fight for independence from Britain during the American Revolutionary War. The de Fleury medal is the highest award for professional excellence in the Engineer Regiment and has four orders of the medal. The orders are Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Steel. Gold is the highest honor and is usually awarded only to a single person each year. Why is this medal so important? As a Combat Engineer and a member of the Engineer Regiment, knowing that all your hard work and contributions throughout the year or the time you have served could be recognized at the Regiment level is a recognition to be proud of. It’s not just given to anyone, but to the best of the best and the ones that have really perfected their craft and contributed on a high-level scale that impacted multiple echelons. I believe if every Engineer whether Combat Engineer, Horizontal Engineer, Bridge Crewmember and so forth is educated on this medal, they would put their best effort in each and every task they are entrusted with a hundred percent dedication to duty and there professional military occupation. As a young Private First Class, I had an encounter with one of the Sergeants in my company that received the Steel de Fleury medal for his contribution in Iraq while being deployed. At first, I had no idea what the award was that he was being awarded, however as I got educated on what the award encompasses, through my leadership and research, I became super excited. From that day onward which I can remember clearly like it was yesterday I made a promise to myself to always dedicate hundred percent of my effort to every task I am assigned whether it’s at the lower level or at a higher level, because I was inspired and I wanted to be just like that Sergeant that day.
Named to honor former Sergeant Major of the Army Leon Van Autreve, this award recognizes the Engineer Soldier of the Year in the active and reserve branch in the rank of Private through Specialist. Throughout my career, I have come across individuals whether they were my subordinate, coworker, peers or my seniors that had a vast amount of knowledge in our field as a Combat Engineer and always put their best efforts toward being the embodiment of what a Combat Engineer should be. These are Soldiers that excel in every aspect possible, whether it’s in the field, garrison or a deployed environment. Knowing that there is an award out there that is capable of recognizing them for the efforts they put in striving to be better than they were yesterday, is an extraordinary way to express our gratitude.
This award is to recognize one outstanding civilian in recognition of their outstanding contributions and support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE), U.S. Army Engineer School (USAES) and the Regiment, to include civil works, humanitarian, and community achievements. At one point in time, all of us currently serving will retire whether it’s at ten, twenty or more years of active duty service time, we will return to our civilian life. Some will continue on this great journey of serving our nation by being employed by USACE or USAES or any other directorate that supports our Regiment. Whether you were recognized in your career by any of the AEA awards or not, this award is an opportunity to showcase your contributions on a different platform than the usual Engineer Soldier concept. Our organization employs a lot of civilians, retired military or not, these enabler’s works behind the scene to enable the Regiment to continue to be successful in its endeavor to achieve its planned goals. Should we recognize them is our appreciation of everything they do to make the organization better each and every day.
A corporation that is established with the intents of all its member to have an Army Engineer network for life thru completing complex and demanding missions in war or peace time, is indeed a network which is inseparably linked for life by their service. The AEA encompass this ideal and thru their partnership is able to offer programs that recognize members of the Engineer Corps, Active, Reserve, National Guards, or Civilians at a Regimental level with awards such as the de Fleury Medal, the Van Autreve Award, the Outstanding Civilian Award. “We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” (Omar Bradley). With that quote, I believe the AEA is setting an exemplary course that every Engineer should be proud of.
- Awards. (2018). Army Engineer Association. Retrieved from http://armyengineer.com/awards/
- Mission. (2018). Army Engineer Association. Retrieved from http://armyengineer.com/mission/
- Renmark, J. (2019, November 12). 2019 Engineer Regimental Awards. Retrieved From https://www.milsuite.mil/book/docs/DOC-417926
- Ash, W. (2017, October 26). 2019 Engineer Regimental Awards Retrieved From https://www.milsuite.mil/book/docs/DOC-417926
- Quote Page. (2019). The Military Leader. Retrieved From https://www.themilitaryleader.com/resource-recommendations/quotes/