Leaders unite for Knights Week

by Sgt. DJ Borden
16th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. Steven Shapiro (left), 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding general, attends a 16th Sustainment Brigade Quarterly Training Brief with Col. Michelle Donahue (center), 16 SB commander, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Graham (right), 16th SB senior enlisted advisor, in the brigade conference room, Baumholder, Jan. 25. Shapiro discussed upcoming operations in the 16 SB with the senior leaders of the brigade and gave the leaders insight on how to prepare and improve their units through the new year. — Photo by Sgt. DJ Borden

Senior leaders of the 16th Sustainment Brigade came together for Knights Week Jan. 22 to 25 in Baumholder.
Company, battalion, and brigade leadership gathered for team-building social activities and command briefs to ensure leaders share an understanding of brigade operations.
“The purpose of Knights Week is to improve unit cohesion throughout the brigade,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Graham, senior enlisted advisor of the Knights Brigade. “With stronger command teams we can continue doing our part in ensuring a strong Europe.”
The week started with a high-intensity interval training session at the Hall of Champions Gym, which changed the pace of normal physical readiness training.
“Having our leaders come together in both social and duty-related settings is an excellent way to strengthen the camaraderie and refresh them on topics they may not come across on a daily basis in their battalions or companies,” said Col. Michelle Donahue, commander of the Knights Brigade.
Donahue believes events like Knights Week ensure a ready sustainment brigade. Each company and battalion plays a role in supporting the freedom of maneuver and extending the operational reach for a strong Europe.
First sergeants, sergeants major, and commanders participated in refreshment trainings on subjects like legal, Army schools, threat analysis, and the Digital Training Management System. Future leaders were also able to get something out of the event.
Sgt. 1st Class Darnell Scott, HHC, 16th Special Troops Battalion platoon sergeant, held the role of acting first sergeant while the company’s command team was away for a mission. Scott had an advantage to see what his career will look like in the future by participating in Knights Week. He and other leaders who participated had a better understanding of how to prepare and train their Soldiers with more in-depth looks at topics like chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense, electronic warfare, and threat analysis.
“This week I saw what I have to look forward to when I earn the rank of first sergeant,” Scott said. “Becoming more acquainted with other company first sergeants of the brigade and attending the leaders’ trainings with them was a good learning experience.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mohamed Kherbouche, electronic warfare technician and brigade operations officer, organized Knights Week and mentioned that due to the government shutdown, members of the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion were unable to attend the event physically, but sat in on the briefs through video teleconference.
“Despite the obstacles the shutdown caused, the week went well with great training support activity, electronic warfare, and cyber electromagnetic activity briefs,” said Kherbouche. “The command teams broke away from their everyday duties, while refreshing on a few duty-related topics and had a good time together.”
The Knights Brigade leaders went bowling at the Strikers Bowling Center and had a company command teams’ dinner at the Hard Rock Diner. Command teams became more familiar with fellow unit leaders and their role in the brigade.
“It is important that every level of leadership, from company to brigade, understand their roles and the roles and responsibilities of their counterparts to work better together,” Graham said.
After a week of briefs and development trainings, the leadership built more cohesion, which was Donahue’s ultimate goal.
“With stronger leaders we will have even stronger Soldiers and continue to improve in our mission to create a Strong Europe as a result,” Donahue said.

Col. Michelle Donahue (right), commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade, leaps over a wrestling mat during a high intensity interval training session at the Hall of Champions, Baumholder, Jan. 23. — Photo by Sgt. DJ Borden

Senior leaders assigned to the 16th Sustainment Brigade conduct a Battle Update Brief in the brigade conference room, Baumholder, Jan. 24. The BUB took place during Knights Week, a weeklong event bringing company, battalion, and brigade leaders of Knights Brigade together for command briefs and team building activities. — Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael O’Brien

Phil Merchant (left), 16th Sustainment Brigade safety advisor, briefs Col. Michelle Donahue (middle), 16 SB commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Graham (right), 16 SB command sergeant major, on health and safety promotion at the brigade conference room, Baumholder, Jan. 24. — Photo by Sgt. DJ Borden