Tag Archives: Army Corps of Engineers

As American as it gets

by Jay Townsend

Denise Wickson shares her family history with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division in observance of Native American Indian Heritage Month.
Denise Wickson shares her family history with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division in observance of Native American Indian Heritage Month.

She is the great-great granddaughter of Chief Lone Wolf the Younger, born at the Claremore Indian Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma. She’s half Kiowa, a quarter Cherokee and a quarter Choctaw, 100 percent Native American.  She’s a U.S. Air Force Veteran and currently serves as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian.

Denise Wickson is as American as it gets.

“I am proud of my Native American heritage and this country,” said Wickson. “I am many things because of the land of opportunity we live in.”

Beyond lineage and devotion to civil service, Wickson is rooted in all things America. Maybe it’s her New York Yankees cellphone cover that gives it away or perhaps it’s her devotion to the Oklahoma Sooners football team.

Nonetheless, if you talk to Wickson she’ll tell you she’s an Indian from Oklahoma, an American and a 17-year veteran of civil service.

Her story of service began in 1996 while she was taking care of her aging grandmother.

“My grandmother could see I was a lot like my grandfathers and uncles that had joined the military,” said Wickson. “I felt like I needed to be with her, but she kept encouraging me to go and join.”

Wickson comes from a long line of warriors that have fought for American liberties in many different territories as well as our nation’s foreign wars.

This old family photo shows Denise Wickson’s family gathered at a table below an image of their ancestor, Kiowa Chief Lone Wolf the Younger. Wickson is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division civil servant who is sharing her family story in observance of Native American Indian Heritage Month.
This old family photo shows Denise Wickson’s family gathered at a table below an image of their ancestor, Kiowa Chief Lone Wolf the Younger. Wickson is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division civil servant who is sharing her family story in observance of Native American Indian Heritage Month.

Wickson is a direct descendant of Kiowa Chief, Lone Wolf the Younger, also known as Mamay-day-te. The former chief is famous for saving the son of Old Chief Lone Wolf, Gui-pah-gah, the Elder, during a fight with teamsters at Howard Wells, New Mexico. in 1872. He is also known for the Supreme Court case Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock where he claimed American tribes had been defrauded of land by Congressional actions in violation of a previous treaty. This was one of the first cases where a Native American tribe went to court rather than resort to warfare to resolve an issue.

Since Lone Wolf, almost every male in Wickson’s family has served in the military and so have many of the females.

“It’s pretty amazing to think about my family’s military contributions to this country,” Wickson said. “It’s pretty amazing to be a part of that tradition.”

SWT hosts supervisor training workshop

By Preston L. Chasteen
Public Affairs, Tulsa District, USACE
TULSA, Okla. – The Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sponsored a three day training event at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oct. 25-27, focused on cultivating a high performance culture within the SWD region.
The Southwestern Division pilot program is an initiative of SWD Commander, Brig. Gen. David C. Hill and the SWD Human Capital Committee, in an effort to develop critical competencies for supervisors and leaders within the various SWD districts. This initiative is being led by Benjamin Bracken, SWD Director of Human Resources, and Frederick Olison, SWD Chief of Staff.
Benjamin Bracken, SWD Director of Human Resources
Benjamin Bracken, SWD Director of Human Resources
Training modules covered topics ranging from defining a high-performance climate, to performance expectations and development.
“The workshop was really worthwhile because it reinforces what we’ve already learned as supervisors and provides us with new tools as leaders to assist our people in being the best they can be by producing an environment conducive to success,” stated Neldia Watson, Tulsa District’s Equal Employment Opportunity Chief.  “It was a great workshop and I would highly encourage supervisors to attend if they have the opportunity.”
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In addition to the formal training conducted, several modules allowed for breakout groups to get hands-on training and put to use the information being taught with interactive scenarios.
Instructors for the course were selected from Tulsa, Little Rock and Galveston districts and comprised a variety of backgrounds as well as a demonstrated passion for managing, leading and developing employees.

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The curriculum was based on competencies and practices that have received poor ratings in past surveys, town halls, and sensing sessions.
The course is intended to eventually be available to all SWD supervisors and is being re-evaluated as necessary based on instructor and student feedback.
This 3 day event was primarily made up of attendees from the Tulsa District, but also included personnel from other SWD districts.