Hispanic Heritage Month – Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America

Brig. Gen. David C. Hill
Brig. Gen. David C. Hill – Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division

Each year, we observe Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to recognize their many contributions to our nation’s legacy. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16, and Chile on Sept. 18.

This year’s theme, chosen by the National Council of Hispanic Employment Managers is: “Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America.”

The theme invites us to reflect on Hispanic Americans’ not only embracing America and its culture but also bringing their own traditions, culture, language, values, work ethics and ideals to the vitality and meaningful legacy in our Nation’s cultural framework.

Hispanic Americans have long played an essential role in our country’s remarkable culture, heritage, and the building of this great nation. They also have a proud and distinguished history in the U.S. Army and Corps of Engineers.

The number of Hispanic Americans serving their country in the U.S. armed forces continues to grow. In 2010, Hispanics represented the third largest ethnic group among the nation’s 21.8 million veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Within the Army Corps of Engineers, we have slightly less than 800 members of Hispanic descent, and around 100 within the Southwestern Division. They serve in a wide variety of positions, across all career fields and pay grades, both civilian and in military uniform.

This month the Army will reflect on the accomplishments of Hispanics Americans like General Richard E. Cavazos the first Hispanic 4-Star General and Brig. Gen. Carmelita Vigil-Schimenti the first Hispanic female to attain rank of general.  The Army will also focus on unselfish contributions like those made by Distinguished Service Cross recipient Cpl. Aristides Sosa, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, during the Vietnam War. Sosa purposely jumped on top of a grenade during the Tet Offensive to save a comrade.

One great example of the Hispanic American influence in our Army is the 65th Infantry Regiment. Based in Puerto Rico, the unit was the only all-Hispanic unit to serve during the Korean War. Nicknamed the “Borinqueneers” in honor of a native Puerto Rican Indian tribe, the 65th displayed true heart and valor during the Korean War. During a three-year period from 1950 – 1953, the unit participated in nine major campaigns, earning a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations. Individual unit members earned four Distinguished Service Crosses and 124 Silver Stars.

I ask you to share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

USACE Galveston District awards $54.6 million in contracts

GALVESTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District awarded $54,613,535 contracts for the following work along the Texas coast:

• $26,571,750 awarded to Weeks Marine Inc., for deferred environmental restoration along the Houston Ship Channel. This contract will use material mined from the HSC beneficially to construct marsh dikes at Atkinson Island and provide for additional placement area capacity for future dredging requirements while implementing marsh creation within Galveston Bay. In addition, the work will resolve a navigation safety concern on the HSC.

• $15,448,340 awarded to Lecon Inc. for Greens Bayou drainage structures and channel improvements and flood damage prevention. This contract will complete the final phase of the federal structural flood risk reduction improvements at Greens Bayou in the segment from Veterans Memorial to Cutten Road.

• $3,929,700 awarded to Crosby Dredging LLC for pipeline dredging along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Rollover Pass to Galveston Causeway. This contract will remove approximately 670,000 cubic yards of maintenance material from the GIWW. Approximately 140,000 cubic yards will be used beneficially to nourish the beach west of Rollover Pass.

• $3,828,900 awarded to RLB Contracting for rehabilitation work on GIWW placement areas 93 and 112B in Brazoria and Matagorda counties, Texas. This contract will raise existing levees to provide needed placement area capacity, replace outfall structures and provide shoreline stabilization measures.

• $2,241,800 awarded to Orion Marine Construction Inc., for unrestricted procurement for the Matagorda Ship Channel, Texas, Channel to Port Lavaca in Calhoun County, Texas. This contract will dredge shoaled sediment from the Matagorda Ship Channel to Port Lavaca and also the Matagorda Ship Channel to the Harbor of Refuge. The contractor is required to remove approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of dredged material from the Matagorda Ship Channel to Port Lavaca and Lynn Bayou Turning Basin and approximately 800,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Harbor of Refuge, North-South Basin and East-West Basin. In total, approximately 2.2 million cubic yards of shoaled material is to be dredged and placed in open-water, unconfined placement areas.

• $2,593,045 awarded to Affolter Contracting Company for dredged material placement area work along the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County, Texas. This contract will raise containment dikes at Rosa Allen Dredged Material Placement Area in order to facilitate future dredging operations.

Encompassing the Texas coast from Louisiana to Mexico; an area that spans across 50,000 square miles, the USACE Galveston District plays a key role in America’s well-being by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce as well as provides vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.

For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.