Engineers hold annual conference

Published April 9, 2012
Capt. Matthew Larocco, commander of Company C, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, pours Red Bull into the grog bowl at the Peninsula Engineer Conference Dining Out April 5.

Capt. Matthew Larocco, commander of Company C, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, pours Red Bull into the grog bowl at the Peninsula Engineer Conference Dining Out April 5.

SEOUL, Republic of Korea — The 2012 Peninsula Engineer Conference (PEC), hosted by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), was held April 3-5 at the Seoul Millennium Hilton hotel.

SAME provides networking and continuing education opportunities for military engineers spanning all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces-Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and also Department of Defense Civilian engineers. One of the ways it does so is the PEC. The theme for this year's conference was engineer innovations enabling Korea Transformation.

Besides networking and continuing education, this year an additional objective was added to SAME's mission statement: developing future engineers through outreach and mentoring.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District not only is the architect of Korea Transformation but has already been engaged in SAME's new objective. District leaders have begun recruiting efforts aimed at bringing both experienced and fresh engineers into the District.

"We want you. We are hiring," said Col. Donald E. Degidio, Jr., Commander of FED. "This is the biggest program right now in the United States Army."

During his presentation, Degidio introduced SAME members to the expanding opportunities available through the Korea Relocation Program.

Degidio also discussed the role FED plays in both armistice and contingency on the Korean Peninsula. Besides Afghanistan, FED is the only forward deployed district and an integral part of the ROK-U.S. Alliance with more than 250 local nationals employed by FED.

FED was also a major player in preparations for the conference. The conference consisted of briefings and break-out sessions, all for the purpose of gaining a full understanding of engineering opportunities and capabilities in this theater of operations where FED is the Department of Defense design and construction agent.

Many members of FED voluntarily contributed their time to ensuring that the PEC was a successful and engaging opportunity for both U.S. and Republic of Korea engineers.

"I'm pleased that our many Republic of Korea engineer counterparts joined us for this conference," said Brig. Gen. Richard Stevens, Commander of the Pacific Ocean Division. "Their presentations and insights provided great value-added to all in attendance. It's clear that with our continued cooperation and friendship the ROK-US Alliance will remain strong."

Stevens visited Korea for the third time during the PEC where he was also given the opportunity to talk about the role that POD plays in both Korea and the Asia-Pacific Region.

"This conference is a superb opportunity to bring together a diverse community of engineering professionals from both our nations and around the Asia-Pacific region to share ideas, experiences, and lessons learned."

The PEC is also an alliance builder between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. Today, one of the biggest bilateral agreements between the U.S. and its allies is the Land Partnership Plan and the Yongsan Relocation Plan between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea which together will relocate the majority of U.S. Forces from Seoul to Pyeongtaek. Both of these programs were major topics of discussion throughout this year's PEC.

"The Pacific Ocean Division prides itself in providing "Trusted Engineering." This trust is built upon a foundation of technical expertise, industry leadership and fiscal stewardship," said Stevens. "We're committed to providing every resource possible to ensure the success of our program here in Korea."

Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, Eighth US Army Commander gave a presentation about the progress of Korea Transformation. He mentioned that the program is the biggest USACE project since construction of the Panama Canal 100 years ago and that FED is making history today.

The PEC concluded with an engineer dining out in which all engineers from across the peninsula were invited. The keynote speaker was Maj. Gen. Cardon, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division and one of the few engineers to command the Division.