The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Engineer Regiment hosted a senior delegation of Brazilian Army engineer officers Nov. 13 to 16, for a wide-ranging tour as part of an ongoing military engineering partnership between the two nations.
The Brazilian delegation included Gen. Anisio David de Oliveira Jr., chief of the Brazilian Army Dept. of Engineering and Construction, Maj. Gen. Everton Pacheco da Silva, Brazilian military attaché in Washington, and other senior officers.
U.S. Army Engineer leaders escorted the delegation to the USACE Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) headquarters and USACE Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi; the U.S. Army Engineer School at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri; and the Pentagon and USACE Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“We were incredibly proud to host Gen. David and his team’s visit with our engineer family. The relationship we share with our Brazilian counterparts is extremely important to us both,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kimberly M. Colloton, USACE deputy commanding general for military and international operations. “Our ongoing dialogue over many years enables us to explore new ideas to help each other to address existing and emerging environmental and climate risks, understand design and construction challenges, and share best practices for solving our nations’ toughest problems.”
While at MVD on Nov. 13, the delegation received a brief by the division’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Kimberly A. Peeples, about the importance of the Mississippi Valley Division and its mission to serve the region by providing vital public engineering services and stewardship of water resource infrastructure, partnering in peace and war, strengthening the nation’s security, energizing the economy, and reducing risks from disasters.
The delegation rode an inspection barge along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, where they met the USACE Vicksburg District commander, Col. Christopher Klein, and learned about the Mat Sinking Unit (MSU). The MSU places hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats, also known as revetment, along the Mississippi River to protect flood control works, prevent riverbank erosion, and provide navigable waterways for commercial transportation. The unit’s work spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans districts and more than 1,500 miles of river.
During their Nov. 14 visit to ERDC, the delegation received overviews of a variety of coastal, digital and geotechnical technology. They visited the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory for a presentation on the center’s ship simulator and physical river models. At the Information Technology Laboratory, they received more information about CAD/BIM technology, and at the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, they learned about ERDC research in the area of post blast forensics.
At Ft. Leonard Wood on Nov. 15, the delegation met U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, commanding general of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Ft. Leonard Wood. They learned about the U.S. Army Engineer School and even tried out bulldozer simulators. They visited the Contingency Basing Integration Training and Evaluation Center (CBITEC), which provides U.S. Army Prime Power School students with testing facilities throughout their year-long training program. They also visited combat engineer mine detection dogs and learned about their training program.
Ft. Leonard Wood is the home of the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment, which encompasses over a dozen engineer-related military occupational specialties and represents more than 80,000 uniformed personnel assigned to Engineer units across the active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.
The visit concluded in Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, where the delegation visited the Pentagon, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. They were welcomed to the USACE headquarters by Colloton, who also joined them for dinner along with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William “Butch” Graham, deputy chief of engineers and USACE deputy commanding general, and other senior USACE leaders. The dinner also included a performance by the U.S. Army Band.
“The delegation was very impressed with how well they were received in all visits and especially at the dinner,” said Marcelo Salles, USACE South Atlantic Division’s international program manager, who accompanied the Brazilian leaders throughout the trip. “The Army Band was a great success.”
Regular visits between the Brazilian and U.S. armies’ chiefs of engineers began in 2006, along with other long-running initiatives to continually enhance engineering partnership and increase technical interoperability between the two armies.
Another key feature of the U.S.-Brazilian army engineer partnership is the ongoing Military Personnel Exchange Program, which started approximately 20 years ago. The current MPEP positions were established 10 years ago and include a Brazilian colonel at MVD’s division headquarters, a Brazilian colonel at ERDC, and a U.S. Army captain serving in the Brazilian Army’s 1st Engineer Group.