Category Archives: Fort Worth District

Fort Worth District team responds to historic rainfall

Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Deputy Commander, Fort Worth District.
Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Deputy Commander, Fort Worth District.

Lt. Col. Clay Morgan
Deputy Commander,
Fort Worth District

 

Team Fort Worth, for every organization there are key events and milestones that define and reinforce its reputation and the character of its people. In May 2015, the Fort Worth District withstood such an event – the Texas Spring Flood 2015.

Many words have been used to describe that event but one that has consistently and accurately been used is ‘historic.’ Forecasts in early May indicated that the rainfall would be significant but this proved to be an understatement.

As the severe rainfall hit in mid-May, SWF immediately stood-up our Emergency Operations Center to execute all facets of emergency flood fight operations.

The SWF Emergency Operations Center was the nucleus of those operations with our Operations Division taking the lead in the field/onsite at our numerous impacted lakes.

The EOC started off on twelve hour shifts but at the height of the flood event went into round the clock operations, with representatives from our district and other USACE district offices working as a cohesive team to meet numerous requirements – operational and administrative in support of flood fight operations.

Some of you may not be familiar with our flood risk management terminology, but in its simplest terms, flood surcharge pool is the area above the flood pool and to the top of the structure.

As recently as the third week in June, twenty-three of our twenty-five Fort Worth District multi-purpose lakes, were in flood pool. Surcharge releases were made at Bardwell, Benbrook, Grapevine, Joe Pool, Lavon, Lewisville, Navarro Mills, Ray Roberts, Somerville, Sam Rayburn and Town Bluff lakes.

Four of our lakes reached record-high pool elevations as a result of Spring Flood 2015: Joe Pool – 538 ft., Lewisville – 537 ft., Navarro Mills – 442.6 ft. and Bardwell – 441 ft.

It is the character of Team Fort Worth that allowed us to:

  • Conduct increased surveillance of our reservoir projects to monitor conditions, read instrumentation and report areas of distress. This effort included 24 hour surveillance of several lake projects performed by Operations and Engineering and Construction Division personnel from within SWF, SWD, and across USACE
  • Provide round the clock support by our Water Management Section to state, county, and local Emergency Management partners at the State of Texas with flood inundation maps and shape files for rivers below our USACE projects; technical assistance on flood fight measures and provision of flood fight materials
  • Coordinate and execute the delivery and distribution of over 169,500 small sandbags, 1,100 Super Sandbags, and HESCOs by our Logistics Office and Operations Division
  • Coordinate and execute action plans and expedited repairs at lakes by our E&C, Operations, and Contracting Divisions
  • Provide technical assistance to help stabilize conditions at Padera Dam near Midthlothian, TX and technical assistance on a collapsed bridge on the Blanco River by our Dam Safety Team
  • Embedded in the Texas Operations Center in Austin to provide instant access to State resources and coordination
  • Unprecedented coordination and work with our local, state and other federal agencies partners
  • Record-breaking local, regional, national and international balanced and positive media coverage all coordinated by the SWF Public Affairs Team with 170 print and broadcast interviews conducted; over 225 media and public inquiries responded to and three major press conferences coordinated and executed

These achievements were outstanding! In the months ahead, we will have significant challenges ahead as we assess and repair dams, levees, and parks that were damaged during the floods.

Additionally, due to storm waters captured from the flood event in May and June, SWF’s recreation mission for our twenty-five lakes has been greatly impacted. In some of our lakes, it will take at least two months or more for lake levels to return to normal conservation pool levels, without any significant rainfall.

We are definitely aware of the inconvenience, as well as some economic impacts, this will have on the communities in and around our lakes in terms of less recreational opportunity over the next few months. However, flood damage reduction and public safety must and will always be our priority and is the primary reason for our multi-purpose reservoirs. Our partners, and the public, understand this and we appreciate their patience as we gradually assess, repair and ready all of our facilities to reopen as the safe recreation areas that they were prior to Spring Flood 2015.

In the coming months, my plan is to ensure that all the outstanding work before, during and after the flood event by our numerous SWF team members is formally recognized.

As the Acting Commander, I want to thank Team Fort Worth and all our many partners for a job well done and look forward to us successfully completing the recovery phase of this mission.

As we enter that recovery phase, we can also proudly welcome our new Fort Worth District Commander, Col. Calvin Hudson, his spouse Mrs. Glenda Hudson and their daughter Madison. Col. Hudson will assume command on August 14 and I look forward to celebrating that event with all of Team Fort Worth.

 


Fort Worth District employee receives top honor

Charles “Lon” Webster (left), assistant district counsel, USACE Fort Worth District, currently deployed to Afghanistan, receives the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal from Col. Pete Helmlinger, commander, USACE Transatlantic- Afghanistan District, Monday at Bagram Airfield, Afghansitan. (USACE photo by Mike A. Glasch)
Charles “Lon” Webster (left), assistant district counsel, USACE Fort Worth District, currently deployed to Afghanistan, receives the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal from Col. Pete Helmlinger, commander, USACE Transatlantic- Afghanistan District, Monday at Bagram Airfield, Afghansitan. (USACE photo by Mike A. Glasch)

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District employee, currently deployed to Afghanistan with USACE-Transatlantic Afghanistan District, has been awarded one of the highest honors bestowed within the Corps of Engineers. Charles “Lon” Webster, assistant district counsel, was presented with the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal Monday.

“I was very surprised, to say the least,” Webster said. “The de Fleury medal is a wonderful award and I never expected such an honor.”

Webster first joined the Fort Worth District in March 1992, as an assistant district counsel where he specialized in contracts and trial work. He deployed to Afghanistan in August 2014, as the chief counsel for USACE-TAA.

His commander in Afghanistan considers Webster one of his “all-stars.”

“Lon has superbly served us in a way that most people are not even aware of,” said Col. Pete Helmlinger, commander, USACE-TAA. “In his quiet, professional, tireless, and thorough manner, he has provided expert counsel facilitating construction of significant projects.

“He has also saved the U.S. government millions of dollars in litigation, greatly improved efficiency, and repeatedly increased public confidence and upheld the superb reputation of the Corps of Engineers,” Helmlinger added. “Coupled with his selfless service to our nation in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, it is all together fitting that he be recognized with the de Fleury medal.”

The de Fleury medal is named for a French engineer, Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury, who volunteered to serve with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

At the Battle of Stony Point, New York, in 1779, De Fleury was in command of a battalion of the 1st Regiment of the Corps of Light Infantry. He led an American charge up a rocky slope to retake the outpost on the point. The first over the wall, de Fleury rushed to flag pole, cutting the British colors from their staff.

For his actions, the Continental Congress awarded a medal struck in de Fleury’s honor. It is believed that the de Fleury Medal was the first Congressional Medal produced.

During his 23-year career with USACE Webster has also served with the Tulsa and Philadelphia districts. He considers his work a life-long passion that has afforded him the opportunity to be a part of something that impacts the lives of so many people now and into the future.

“The Corps of Engineers has been, and continues to be, a magnificent place to invest a career,” Webster said. “I am proud to work for an agency that undertakes so many difficult projects on behalf of both our own country and other allied nations. In my opinion, the caliber of the Corps’ civilian employees is unparalleled in the Federal service, and its military personnel are outstanding.”

There are four levels of the de Fleury medal: steel, bronze, silver and gold. Only one gold medal is awarded each year by the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers.

“The de Fleury Medal is presented to individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the Engineer Regiment in a variety of positions and locations,” Helmlinger said. “It recognizes the very best of Army engineering.”

“As a lawyer for USACE and a long-time student of military history, being recognized by the Engineer Regiment in such a significant manner is extremely meaningful for me,” Webster said. “The Corps of Engineers has been, and continues to be, a magnificent place to invest a career.”