Archive for February, 2010

African American Engineering History

February 24th, 2010

This week, I had the honor of participating in the release of the USACE Office of History’s latest publication, Nothing But Praise: A History of the 1321st Engineer General Service Regiment.

This book sheds new light on the role of African American engineers during World War II, and in the process, it enriches the history of the entire Engineer Regiment. It chronicles the distinguished wartime service of the 1321st Engineers, which was one of many segregated African American units during the war.

Often operating under adverse conditions, African American engineers played key roles in completing some of the Army’s most difficult construction projects. The 1321st Engineers deployed to France in December of 1944, and supported the Allied drive across Europe. During the months that followed, the unit compiled an enviable record of accomplishments — its engineers repaired bridges, cleared and maintained roads, renovated buildings, constructed hospitals, and built huge supply depots.

We are so lucky that the unit’s commander, Colonel Aldo Bagnulo, did a brilliant job of documenting the unit’s many outstanding accomplishments, and kept dozens of previously unpublished images of African American engineers at work during World War II. This book would not be possible without his attention to detail, or his impeccable record keeping.

A summary of the book and a photo gallery of images is available on the Office of History web page, as well as a link to download the full text of the book.  I encourage you to check out our history and honor it, because the 1321st Engineers were definitely BUILDING STRONG.

Miscellaneous "neat stuff"

A Tragic Loss for the Nation

February 22nd, 2010

In this business, we have many close partnerships with other federal, state and local agencies, and this weekend, we lost a good man. Sam Hamilton, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died suddenly of a heart attack while skiing in Colorado.

We worked closely with Sam for many years, as he was a partner to the Corps in helping to restore the Everglades, which is the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country. He was also heavily involved in the recovery and restoration efforts of coastal wetlands, wildlife refuges and other wildlife habitat around the Gulf of Mexico after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar said, “Sam was a friend, a visionary, and a professional whose years of service and passionate dedication to his work have left an indelible mark on the lands and wildlife we cherish. His forward-thinking approach to conservation – including his view that we must think beyond boundaries at the landscape-scale – will continue to shape our nation’s stewardship for years to come.”

Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rowan Gould said, “He was inspired by the men and women of the Service who dedicate their lives to protecting fish and wildlife and habitats, always believing that working together, and with our partners, we could accomplish so much.”

The Corps has lost a friend, and the nation has lost a dedicated, selfless servant.

Partnership ,