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Hopes of leaving a city of 'marble'

Published Feb. 11, 2020
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IN THE PHOTO, Memphis District Commander Col. Zachary Miller (left) welcomed Structural Engineer Shane Boehmer back from his deployment in Iraq recently for some much needed rest and relaxation. (USACE photo by Jessica Haas)

The Memphis District welcomed a deployed member home for a little rest and relaxation recently when he came back from Iraq after being gone since April of 2019.

Structural Engineer Shane Boehmer is currently assigned to Task Force Essayons (TFE). Its main mission is to support Operation Inherent Resolve in the defeat of ISIS. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides engineering support to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

Just before leaving on R&R, he was one of the first USACE employees back into Iraq following the recent Iranian crisis and provided critical infrastructure support to help recover from the attack.

“Memphis has a long history with TFE,” Structural Engineering Section Chief Daniel Rocha said. “Shane is the fourth person from MVM to deploy to TFE. The others were Donny Davidson, who was the first DPM of TFE and helped stand up the Task Force, and then Mallory Harvey who deployed as a structural engineer. I then deployed as chief of engineering, and now Shane is there as a structural engineer.”

While back, Boehmer took some time to answer a few questions about his experience in Iraq thus far.

“So far being deployed has been fun and challenging,” he explained. “I am enjoying the work I am doing. Prior to starting with the government my background in structural design was originally in buildings. So now I am doing buildings again, but with loads associated with indirect and direct fire. So, for me the experience has been rewarding and fun.”

It’s been so rewarding and fun in fact, that he has already extended his deployment to 24 months and is now expected to return to Memphis later next year.

“It is a unique opportunity that has many rewards,” Boehmer explained. “It’s a challenging, fast paced environment. It is a fun office environment that is relaxed and enjoyable. You also seem to get unique nicknames - for example, people started calling me “Santa” for some unknown reason. You could also have the opportunity to travel to different areas, meet many local nationals who are grateful for the efforts we put forth. Being deployed can be as positive or as negative as you want it to be.”

He went on to explain that he thought anyone who worked for the private sector before coming to government would find it very rewarding and challenging.

“The sacrifices made with family, so long as you have a goal that you and your family are unified on, are worth the time apart,” he added.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish while there, it overwhelmingly had more to do with others than it did anything with him personally.

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘URBEM LATERICIUM INVENIT, MARMOREA RELIQUIT – I found a city of bricks and left a city of marble.’ – Caesar Augustus, recorded by Suetonius,” he said. “So for me, when I end my deployment in 2021, I want to leave Iraq knowing my efforts made the coalition bases and Iraqi bases safer and better, thus improving the quality of the lives for the soldiers on those bases.” 

Boehmer may not leave a city made of literal marble, but with his hard work and dedication to the mission at hand, the Memphis District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are proud of what he has done and everything we know he has yet to accomplish.