The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ vision is, “Engineering solutions for our Nation’s toughest challenges.” Not only does this vision relate to challenges here in the United States, but it applies to those encountered all over the world.
Part of working toward that vision asks our employees to deploy and sometimes work for and with other agencies overseas. Recently, two members of the Memphis District volunteered to do just that.
Mechanical Engineer Aaron Ray and Physical Support Branch Chief Lawrence “LT” Thomas are deploying in support of the Expeditionary Civilian Workforce (ECW). They will be supporting Department of Defense (DoD) missions in the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility.
LT will be the director of Public Works for seven NATO bases while Ray will actually be working for LT and will be responsible for base power. LT said this deployment should be a great opportunity for Ray to gain experience in power generation.
While this will be Ray’s first time deploying, LT is making this his third time supporting USACE and DoD related missions.
“During my first deployment, I was asked during a RiverWatch interview why I wanted to deploy,” LT said. “My answer hasn't changed; I've always wanted to be a Soldier and when the opportunity was and is there for me to serve alongside some of our Nation's finest, I just can't pass up the opportunity. During my deployments I have met some great people and leaders. Not many employees can say that they've had lunch and flown in a C-130 with the commanding general.”
Ray is excited to deploy as well, saying he was attracted to the opportunity because of the challenges he feels he’ll be exposed to in such a relatively short period of time.
“The main benefit will be the amount of new knowledge I will gain from this experience, being overseas, meeting people from around the world and the experience of building and/or maintaining an infrastructure vital to the USACE mission,” Ray added.
Our district is grateful to have employees like Ray and LT volunteer for deployments like this. Not only does it develop them as individuals and professionals, but the knowledge and experiences gained from deployments greatly contribute to the teams they are part of, both while deployed and when stateside.
“My deployment will support the troops and it will make me more of a well-rounded engineer when I return to the United States,” Ray added.
LT went on to reinforce this added value saying, “I believe that my breadth of experience will enable me to lead and supervise personnel at forward operating bases that I will be responsible for while deployed. I have worked with and learned from some of the best professionals within USACE. A great benefit/service to USACE and the nation would be if I can pass along some of my knowledge and experiences to help execute the CENTCOM missions in support of the warfighter as well as to help with the reconstruction of a nation.”
Deploying can be hard work but at the same time a very rewarding experience. LT said he enjoys solving problems, always learning something new, using skills he’s learned in his career, witnessing a project go from cradle to grave, and being a part of a solution to a problem. Without a doubt, many, if not all of these engineering favorites came from being deployed.
The Memphis District thanks both Ray and LT for volunteering to serve overseas. The district will be sure to check in on them while deployed to see how they are doing and review the impacts they’ve likely made while there.