Army's Top Engineer Visits LA Soldiers in Iraq

Army's Top Engineer Visits LA Soldiers in Iraq

POSTED: Friday, September 25, 2009 - 1:42pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm

BAGHDAD –The Army’s top engineer Soldier spent time with troops from Louisiana National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade during an informal gathering at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Sept. 22.

Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, chief of engineers and commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told the Soldiers that he is proud of their service and their courage in the current fight.

Van Antwerp broke into a story about a tradition his family enjoys every Christmas holiday, solving jigsaw puzzles, and how that tradition illustrated the impact engineers make on the battlefield.

“While we worked on the 10,000 piece puzzle, we had lots of children running around and they would take pieces while we didn’t notice,” said Antwerp jokingly. “That was the most difficult part…at the end of the puzzle when about five to 10 pieces were missing.”

“You are like pieces of a puzzle,” he told the engineer Soldiers. “The picture doesn’t look right until all of you do your part. “

For their part in Iraq, Louisiana’s engineer Soldiers have spent countless hours training and partnering with Iraqi engineers on projects from building structures that house Soldiers, dining facilities, morale and recreation sites, roads, bridges and even taking on the more dangerous missions of clearing routes of improvised explosive devices and cleaning debris along roadsides.

Van Antwerp, a Desert Storm veteran, also urged the Guardsmen to keep up the good work of designing the changing needs of the military and remain vigilant on the constantly changing battlefield.

**PHOTO CAPTION: BAGHDAD – Staff Sgt. Cedric High (left), of Leesville, La., with the 225th Engineer Brigade, receives a coin of excellence from Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, U.S. Army chief of engineers and commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers during an informal gathering at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Sept. 22. Van Antwerp told Soldiers that their engineer missions as problem solvers are critical on today’s battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Pat Simon, Louisiana National Guard 225th Eng. Bde. PAO, MND-B)