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Q & A with the SWD deputy commander

OllarQ. You have been the deputy commander for three months now. Are there some things that have really grabbed your attention as you have observed the workings of the Southwestern Division?

A. I think the size and scope of the Southwestern Division, and the impact of our projects on the American people, have honestly been impressive. The entire state of Texas by itself is a whole lot of territory. Throw in Oklahoma, most of Arkansas, parts of Missouri and Kansas (and then reconfigure for the military missions), and it’s remarkable. Add to that the benefit that our projects provide to the communities—as well as the interaction that I’ve seen between the Army Corps of Engineers and the communities—and there is a lot of story to tell there. When you work your piece of it every day, you might not see the overall impact. But from my perspective, what the Southwestern Division team accomplishes is tangible and it is value added.

Q. With short trips to three of the four Districts under your belt, any takeaways from those trips?

A. The dedication that USACE employees have to mission accomplishment. The professionalism displayed by every employee I have interacted with from the park rangers at Lewisville and Table Rock lakes, the staffs at the district offices and the lock operators on the White River in Arkansas.

Q. This is your second assignment with the Army Corps of Engineers but first with a civil works mission, which is unique in the Army, as it is composed mainly of a civilian workforce. What are your thoughts on this?

A. Civilians are a critical component of the U.S. Army. The Army employs about 260,000 civilians, which is about half of our active duty force. So I have worked with civilians my entire career. The bonus with the Army Corps of Engineers is the wide array of skill sets and the professional and technical expertise of this workforce. With just about every type of STEM background, every kind of engineering degree, half of our workforce with an academic degree and 71 percent with some college—the Southwestern Division is a real powerhouse of human capital! Who wouldn’t be proud to be a leader of this kind of workforce?

Q. We understand you come from a military family. Tell us a little about yourself.

A. I am the son of a career soldier and the oldest of four kids. My father retired as a sergeant first class in 1988, the year I left to begin my military career by attending West Point Prep School and eventually the United States Military Academy, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I am married to a wonderful spouse who hails from Baton Rouge, and we are blessed with two beautiful daughters and a brindle boxer named Fred.

Q. Is it true that you accepted this assignment because you are a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan?

A. That is an evil question! I enjoy all sports, but I love college and professional football and rugby. I am a diehard Army Football fan and we will BEAT NAVY this year. I also follow the Louisiana State University Tigers and love Southeastern Conference football. My professional football team is the Denver Broncos.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?

A. I knew coming into the job that I would have big shoes to fill, as Col. R.J. Muraski had six total years in the Division and three years as the deputy commander. I have felt welcomed to the SWD family as I make my way around the various offices and cubicles, and I am often reminded by the SWD folks that I meet that everyone has been new to USACE at some point, so they can relate as I learn new acronyms and new faces. I am excited to be here in Dallas and look forward to getting out to the districts and meeting the team. I feel that it is truly an honor and a privilege to serve with the SWD Pacesetter Team, and I look forward working with and getting to know everyone!

GO ARMY BEAT NAVY!!


Dredging begins at Waurika Lake

Lieutenant Col. Daniel Young, deputy commander, Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, speaks during the opening ceremony for the Waurika Lake dredging project, November 3. Young praised the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District for their efforts in dreding Waurika Lake to reclaim water supply and flood control storage.
Lieutenant Col. Daniel Young, deputy commander, Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, speaks during the opening ceremony for the Waurika Lake dredging project, November 3. Young praised the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District for their efforts in dreding Waurika Lake to reclaim water supply and flood control storage.

TULSA – Dredging of Waurika Lake, to reclaim water storage for six southwestern Oklahoma municipalities began Nov. 3.
The dredging operation is the culmination of months of planning by the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District, which requested approval from the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the intake channel in 2014.

At the time of the request, the region was in a severe drought and Waurika Lake was 17 feet below the top of the conservation pool. Access to available water was limited by sedimentation in the intake channel which reduced the volume of available water supply in the conservation pool by 68 percent.

“We had to cut everyone’s water usage by 10 percent and we were on the verge of cutting usage even more before the rains in May and June,” said Jack Jackson, President, WMLCD, who has been a resident of the area since the 1950s. “We had never seen a drought that required those kinds of measures.”

The dredging operation will remove approximately 77,000 cubic yards of sediment from the intake channel that has built up since the impoundment that formed Waurika Lake began in 1977.

Waurika Lake was 20 feet below the top of the conservation pool when, unprecedented rainfall in May 2015 caused the lake to reach normal levels in only 22 days. The rainfall caused flooding throughout the Tulsa District, and prompted the Waurika Lake project office to begin flood control operations.

During the opening ceremony for the dredging operation, Lt. Col. Daniel Young, deputy commander, Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, praised the WLMCD for moving forward with the dredging project after the summer floods.

“Despite the return of water levels, the WLMCD decided to invest in the future of their water conservation resource,” Young said. “This project will remove nearly 77,000 cubic yards of sedimentation and improve the intake structures, reclaiming valuable storage space for Waurika Lake’s water conservation and flood risk management missions. You should be commended for your foresight and for your investment in the region’s water supply.”

The sediment is being pumped into a 17 acre containment area on WMLCD property.

Waurika Lake provides water to more than 275,000 people in six municipalities. In addition to water supply, Waurika Lake’s missions include flood control, irrigation, water quality, recreation and fish and wildlife.


The official U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division publication