Essayons Army Corps Of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

USACE logo

Active11 June 1775; 242 years ago (1775-06-11) – present
Country United States of America
Branch United States Army
Size37,000 civilian and military (approx. 2%) members[1]
Garrison/HQWashington, D.C., U.S.
Motto(s)Essayons (Let Us Try)
ColorsScarlet and White[2]
Websitewww.USACE.Army.mil
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, Chief of Engineers[3]
Notable
commanders
COL Richard Gridley,
BG Louis Lebègue Duportail,
COL Joseph Swift,
COL Alexander Macomb, Jr.,
BG William Louis Marshall,
MG Richard Delafield,
BG Joseph Totten,
BG Henry Robert,
LTG Edgar Jadwin,
LTG Leif J. Sverdrup
Insignia
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Branch Insignia
Regimental Insignia

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)[5] is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Defense and a major Army command made up of some 37,000 civilian and military personnel,[1] making it one of the world's largest public engineering, design, and construction management agencies. Although generally associated with dams, canals and flood protection in the United States, USACE is involved in a wide range of public works throughout the world. The Corps of Engineers provides outdoor recreation opportunities to the public, and provides 24% of U.S. hydropower capacity.

The corps' mission is to "Deliver vital public and military engineering services; partnering in peace and war to strengthen our Nation's security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters."[6]

Their most visible missions include:

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The history of United States Army Corps of Engineers can be traced back to 16 June 1775, when the Continental Congress organized an army with a chief engineer and two assistants.[7]ColonelRichard Gridley became General George Washington's first chief engineer. One of his first tasks was to build fortifications near Boston at Bunker Hill.  The Continental Congress recognized the need for engineers trained in military fortifications and asked the government of King Louis XVI of France for assistance.  Many of the early engineers in the Continental Army were former French officers.  Louis Lebègue Duportail, a lieutenant colonel in the French Royal Corps of Engineers, was secretly sent to America in March 1777 to serve in Washington's Continental Army. In July 1777 he was appointed colonel and commander of all engineers in the Continental Army,and  in November 17, 1777, he was promoted to brigadier general. When the Continental Congress created a separate Corps of Engineers in May 1779 Duportail was designated as its commander.  In late 1781 he directed the construction of the allied U.S.-French siege works at the Battle of Yorktown.

The Corps of Engineers, as it is known today, came into existence on 16 March 1802, when President Thomas Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act whose aim was to "organize and establish a Corps of Engineers ... that the said Corps ... shall be stationed at West Point in the State of New York and shall constitute a military academy." Until 1866, the superintendent of the United States Military Academy was always an officer of engineer.

The General Survey Act of 1824 authorized the use of Army engineers to survey road and canal routes.[8] That same year, Congress passed an "Act to Improve the Navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers" and to remove sand bars on the Ohio and "planters, sawyers, or snags" (trees fixed in the riverbed) on the Mississippi, for which the Corps of Engineers was the responsible agency.[9]

Formerly separate units[edit]

See also: Corps of Topographical Engineers

Separately authorized on 4 July 1838, the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers consisted only of officers and was used for mapping and the design and construction of federal civil works and other coastal fortifications and navigational routes. It was merged with the Corps of Engineers on 31 March 1863, at which point the Corps of Engineers also assumed the Lakes Survey District mission for the Great Lakes.[10]

In 1841, Congress created the Lake Survey. The survey, based in Detroit, Mich., was charged with conducting a hydrographical survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes and preparing and publishing nautical charts and other navigation aids. The Lake Survey published its first charts in 1852.[11]

In the mid-19th century, Corps of Engineers' officers ran Lighthouse Districts in tandem with U.S. Naval officers.

Civil War[edit]

The Army Corps of Engineers played a significant role in the American Civil War. Many of the men who would serve in the top leadership in this institution were West Point graduates who rose to military fame and power during the Civil War. Some of these men were Union Generals George McClellan, Henry Halleck, George Meade, and Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Joseph Johnston, and P.G.T. Beauregard.[7] The versatility of officers in the Army Corps of Engineers contributed to the success of numerous missions throughout the Civil War. They were responsible for building pontoon and railroad bridges, forts and batteries, the destruction of enemy supply lines, and the construction of roads.[7] The Union forces were not the only ones to employ the use of engineers throughout the war, and on 6 March 1861, once the South had seceded from the Union, among the different acts passed at the time, a provision was included that called for the creation of a Confederate Corps of Engineers.[12]

The progression of the war demonstrated the South's disadvantage in engineering expertise; of the initial 65 cadets who resigned from West Point to accept positions with the Confederate Army, only seven were placed in the Corps of Engineers.[12] To overcome this obstacle, the Confederate Congress passed legislation that gave a company of engineers to every division in the field; by 1865, they actually had more engineer officers serving in the field of action than the Union Army.[12] The Army Corps of Engineers served as a main function in making the war effort logistically feasible. One of the main projects for the Army Corps of Engineers was constructing railroads and bridges, which Union forces took advantage of because railroads and bridges provided access to resources and industry. One area where the Confederate engineers were able to outperform the Union Army was in the ability to build fortifications that were used both offensively and defensively along with trenches that made them harder to penetrate. This method of building trenches was known as the zigzag pattern.[12]

20th century[edit]

From the beginning, many politicians wanted the Corps of Engineers to contribute to both military construction and works of a civil nature. Assigned the military construction mission on 1 December 1941 after the Quartermaster Department struggled with the expanding mission,[13] the Corps built facilities at home and abroad to support the U.S. Army and Air Force. During World War II the mission grew to more than 27,000 military and industrial projects in a $15.3 billion mobilization program. Included were aircraft, tank assembly, and ammunition plants, camps for 5.3 million soldiers, depots, ports, and hospitals, as well as the Manhattan Project, and the Pentagon.

In civilian projects, the Corps of Engineers became the lead federal flood control agency and significantly expanded its civil works activities, becoming among other things, a major provider of hydroelectric energy and the country's leading provider of recreation; its role in responding to natural disasters also grew dramatically. In the late 1960s, the agency became a leading environmental preservation and restoration agency.

In 1944, specially trained army combat engineers were assigned to blow up underwater obstacles and clear defended ports during the invasion of Normandy.[14][15] During World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers in the European Theater of Operations was responsible for building numerous bridges, including the first and longest floating tactical bridge across the Rhine at Remagen, and building or maintaining roads vital to the Allied advance across Europe into the heart of Germany. In the Pacific theater, the Pioneer troops were formed, a hand-selected unit of volunteer Army combat engineers trained in jungle warfare, knife fighting, and unarmed jujitsu (hand-to-hand combat) techniques.[16] Working in camouflage, the Pioneers cleared jungle and prepared routes of advance and established bridgeheads for the infantry as well as demolishing enemy installations.[16]

Five commanding generals (chiefs of staff after the 1903 reorganization) of the United States Army held engineer commissions early in their careers. All transferred to other branches before rising to the top. They were Alexander Macomb, George B. McClellan, Henry W. Halleck, Douglas MacArthur, and Maxwell D. Taylor.[17]

Notable dates and projects[edit]

  • The General Survey Act of 1824 authorized use of army engineers to survey roads and canals. The next month, an act to improve navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers initiated the Corps of Engineers' permanent civil works construction mission. Although the 1824 act to improve the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is often called the first rivers and harbors legislation, the act passed in 1826 was the first to combine authorizations for both surveys and projects, thereby establishing a pattern that continues to the present day.[18]
  • Survey and construction of the National Road until Federal funds were withdrawn (1838)
  • The 555 ft 5 18 in (169.29 m) tall Washington Monument, completed under the direction and command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey, 1884
  • Panama Canal, completed under supervision of Army Engineer officers, 1914
  • Flood Control Act of 1936 made flood control a federal policy and officially recognized the Corps of Engineers as the major federal flood control agency
  • Bonneville Dam, completed in 1937
  • Flood Control Act of 1941, which channelized the Los Angeles River and parts of the Santa Ana River
  • USACE took over all real estate acquisition, construction, and maintenance for army facilities, 1941
  • The Manhattan Project (1942–1946)[19]
  • Planning and construction of The Pentagon, completed in 1943 just 16 months after groundbreaking[20]
  • Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, first authorized by congress in 1948
  • USACE began construction support for NASA leading to major activities at the Manned Spacecraft Center and Kennedy Space Center, 1961
  • King Khalid Military City 1973–1987.[21]
  • The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (WRDA 86) brought major change in financing by requiring non federal contributions toward most federal water resource projects
  • Cross Florida Barge Canal
  • Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway

Occasional civil disasters, including the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, resulted in greater responsibilities for the Corps of Engineers. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans provides another example of this.

Organization[edit]

Headquarters[edit]

The Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works under the civilian oversight of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). Three deputy commanding generals report to the chief of engineers, who have the following titles: Deputy Commanding General, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operation, and Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations.[22] The Corps of Engineers headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. The headquarters staff is responsible for Corps of Engineers policy and plans the future direction of all other USACE organizations. It comprises the executive office and 17 staff principals. USACE has two directors who head up Military Programs and Civil Works, Director of Military Programs and Director of Civil Works.

Divisions and districts[edit]

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is organized geographically into eight permanent divisions, one provisional division, one provisional district, and one research command reporting directly to the HQ. Within each division, there are several districts.[5] Districts are defined by watershed boundaries for civil works projects and by political boundaries for military projects.

  • Great Lakes and Ohio River Division (LRD), located in Cincinnati. Reaches from the St Lawrence Seaway, across the Great Lakes, down the Ohio River Valley to the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Covers 355,300 square miles (920,000 km2), parts of 17 states. Serves 56 million people. Its seven districts are located in Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Huntington, West Virginia. The division commander serves on two national and international decision-making bodies: co-chair of the Lake Superior, Niagara, and Ontario/St Lawrence Seaway boards of control; and the Mississippi River Commission.
  • Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), located in Vicksburg, Mississippi.[23] Reaches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Covers 370,000 square miles (960,000 km2), and portions of 12 states bordering the Mississippi River. Serves 28 million people. Its six districts are located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rock Island, Illinois, St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans. MVD serves as headquarters for the Mississippi River Commission.
  • North Atlantic Division (NAD), headquartered at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York.[23] Reaches from Maine to Virginia, including the District of Columbia, with an overseas mission to provide engineering, construction, and project management services to the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command. Serves 62 million people. Its six districts are located in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Concord, Massachusetts, and Wiesbaden, Germany. NAD has the largest Superfund program in USACE with 60% of the funding. NAD's Europe District has done work in dozens of countries and currently has offices in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Israel, Spain, and soon Botswana.
  • Northwestern Division (NWD), located in Portland, Oregon.[23] Reaches from Canada to California, and from the Pacific Ocean to Missouri. Covers nearly 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2) in all or parts of 14 states. Its five districts are located in Omaha, Portland, Seattle, Kansas City, and Walla Walla. NWD has 35% of the total Corps of Engineers' water storage capacity and 75% of the total hydroelectric capacity.
  • Pacific Ocean Division (POD), located at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.[23] Reaches across 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean from the Arctic Circle to American Samoa below the equator and across the International Date Line, and into Asia. includes the territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as well as the Freely Associated States including the Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.[24] Its four districts are located in Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Anchorage, Alaska; and Honolulu. Unlike other military work, POD designs and builds for all of the military services — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines — in Japan, Korea, and Kwajalein Atoll.
  • South Atlantic Division (SAD), located in Atlanta.[23] Reaches from North Carolina to Alabama as well as the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Covers all or parts of six states. Its five districts are located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Jacksonville, and Mobile. One-third of the stateside Army and one-fifth of the stateside Air Force are located within the division boundaries. The largest single environmental restoration project in the world — the Everglades Restoration — is managed by SAD.
  • South Pacific Division (SPD), located in San Francisco.[23] Reaches from California to Colorado and New Mexico. Covers all or parts of seven states. Its four districts are located in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Its region is host to 18 of the 25 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation.
  • Southwestern Division (SWD), located in Dallas.[23] Reaches from Mexico to Kansas. Covers all or part of seven states. Its four districts are located in Little Rock, Tulsa, Galveston, and Fort Worth. SWD's recreation areas are the most visited in USACE with more than 11,400 miles (18,300 km) of shoreline and 1,172 recreation sites.
  • Transatlantic Division (TAD), located in Winchester, Virginia. Supports Federal programs and policies overseas. Consists of the Gulf Region District, the Afghanistan Engineer District South, the Afghanistan Engineer District North, the Middle East District, the USACE Deployment Center and the TAD G2 Intelligence Fusion Center. TAD oversees thousands of projects overseas. TAD overseas locations are staffed primarily by civilian volunteers from throughout USACE.[23] The Corps of Engineers built much of the original Ring Road in the early 1960s and returned in 2002. Supports the full spectrum of regional support, including the Afghan National Security Forces, U.S. and Coalition Forces, Counter Narcotics and Border Management, Strategic Reconstruction support to USAID, and the Commander's Emergency Response Program.

The Engineer Regiment[edit]

See also: Military engineering of the United States

U.S. Army Engineer units outside of USACE Districts and not listed below fall under the Engineer Regiment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Army engineers include both combat engineers and support engineers more focused on construction and sustainment. The vast majority of military personnel in the United States Army Corps of Engineers serve in this Engineer Regiment. The Engineer Regiment is headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and is commanded by the Engineer Commandant, currently a position filled by an Army Brigadier General from the Engineer Branch.

The Engineer Regiment includes the U.S. Army Engineer School (USAES) which publishes its mission as: Generate the military engineer capabilities the Army needs: training and certifying Soldiers with the right knowledge, skills, and critical thinking; growing and educating professional leaders; organizing and equipping units; establishing a doctrinal framework for employing capabilities; and remaining an adaptive institution in order to provide Commanders with the freedom of action they need to successfully execute Unified Land Operations.

Other USACE organizations[edit]

There are several other organizations within the Corps of Engineers:[5][23]

  • Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) — the Corps of Engineers research and development command. ERDC comprises seven laboratories. (see research below)
  • U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center (CEHNC) — provides engineering and technical services, program and project management, construction management, and innovative contracting initiatives, for programs that are national or broad in scope or not normally provided by other Corps of Engineers elements
  • Finance Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CEFC) — supports the operating finance and accounting functions throughout the Corps of Engineers
  • Humphreys Engineer Center Support Activity (CEHEC) — provides administrative and operational support for Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various field offices.
  • Army Geospatial Center (AGC)  — provides geospatial information, standards, systems, support, and services across the Army and the Department of Defense.
  • Marine Design Center (CEMDC) — provides total project management including planning, engineering, and shipbuilding contract management in support of USACE, Army, and national water resource projects in peacetime, and augments the military construction capacity in time of national emergency or mobilization
  • Institute for Water Resources (IWR) — supports the Civil Works Directorate and other Corps of Engineers commands by developing and applying new planning evaluation methods, polices and data in anticipation of changing water resources management conditions.
  • USACE Logistics Activity (ULA)- Provides logistics support to the Corps of Engineers including supply, maintenance, readiness, materiel, transportation, travel, aviation, facility management, integrated logistics support, management controls, and strategic planning.
  • Enterprise Infrastructure Services (CEEIS) — designs information technology standards for the Corps, including automation, communications, management, visual information, printing, records management, and information assurance. CEEIS outsources the maintenance of its IT services, forming the Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology (ACE-IT). ACE-IT is made up of both civilian government employees and contractors.
  • Deployable Tactical Operations System (DTOS) — provides mobile command and control platforms in support of the quick ramp-up of initial emergency response missions for the Corps. DTOS is a system designed to respond to District, Division, National, and International events.
  • Until 2001 local Directorates of Engineering and Housing (DEH), being constituents of the USACE, had been responsible for the housing, infrastructure and related tasks as environmental protection, garbage removal and special fire departments or fire alarm coordination centers in the garrisons of the U.S. Army abroad as in Europe (e.g. Germany, as in Berlin, Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe etc.) Subsequently, a similar structure called DPWs (Directorates of Public Works), subordinate to the United States Army Installation Management Command, assumed the tasks formerly done by the DEHs.

Directly reporting military units[edit]

  • 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) — generates and distributes prime electrical power in support of fighting wars, disaster relief, stability and support operations as well as provides advice and technical assistance in all aspects of electrical power and distribution systems.
  • 911th Engineer Company — (formerly the MDW Engineer Company) provides specialized technical search and rescue support for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; it is also a vital support member of the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, which is charged with the homeland security of the United States capital region.
  • 412th Theater Engineer Command, U.S. Army Reserve, located in Vicksburg, MS.
  • 416th Theater Engineer Command, U.S. Army Reserve, located in Darien, IL.

Mission areas[edit]

Warfighting[edit]

See also: Sapper, Combat engineer, and Military engineering

USACE provides support directly and indirectly to the warfighting effort.[25] They build and help maintain much of the infrastructure that the Army and the Air Force use to train, house, and deploy troops. USACE built and maintained navigation systems and ports provide the means to deploy vital equipment and other material. Corps of Engineers Research and Development (R&D) facilities help develop new methods and measures for deployment, force protection, terrain analysis, mapping, and other support.

USACE directly supports the military in the battle zone, making expertise available to commanders to help solve or avoid engineering (and other) problems. Forward Engineer Support Teams, FEST-A's or FEST-M's, may accompany combat engineers to provide immediate support, or to reach electronically into the rest of USACE for the necessary expertise. A FEST-A team is an eight-person detachment; a FEST-M is approximately 36. These teams are designed to provide immediate technical-engineering support to the warfighter or in a disaster area. Corps of Engineers' professionals use the knowledge and skills honed on both military and civil projects to support the U.S. and local communities in the areas of real estate, contracting, mapping, construction, logistics, engineering, and management experience. This work currently includes support for rebuilding Iraq, establishing Afghanistan infrastructure, and supporting international and inter-agency services.

In addition, the work of almost 26,000 civilians on civil-works programs throughout USACE provide a training ground for similar capabilities worldwide. USACE civilians volunteer for assignments worldwide. For example, hydropower experts have helped repair, renovate, and run hydropower dams in Iraq in an effort to help get Iraqis to become self-sustaining.[23][26]

Homeland security[edit]

USACE supports the United States' Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its security planning, force protection, research and development, disaster preparedness efforts, and quick response to emergencies and disasters.[27]

The CoE conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities — the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act (Pub.L. 84–99), and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Pub.L. 93–288). In a typical year, the Corps of Engineers responds to more than 30 Presidential disaster declarations, plus numerous state and local emergencies. Emergency responses usually involve cooperation with other military elements and Federal agencies in support of State and local efforts.

Infrastructure support[edit]

Work comprises engineering and management support to military installations, global real estate support, civil works support (including risk and priorities), operations and maintenance of Federal navigation and flood control projects, and monitoring of dams and levees.[28]

More than 67 percent of the goods consumed by Americans and more than half of the nation's oil imports are processed through deepwater ports maintained by the Corps of Engineers, which maintains more than 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of commercially navigable channels across the U.S.

In both its Civil Works mission and Military Construction program, the Corps of Engineers is responsible for billions of dollars of the nation's infrastructure. For example, USACE maintains direct control of 609 dams, maintains or operates 257 navigation locks, and operates 75 hydroelectric facilities generating 24% of the nation's hydropower and three percent of its total electricity. USACE inspects over 2,000 Federal and non-Federal levees every two years.

Four billion gallons of water per day are drawn from the Corps of Engineers' 136 multi-use flood control projects comprising 9,800,000 acre feet (12.1 km3) of water storage, making it one of the United States' largest water supply agencies.[23]

The 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), the only active duty unit in USACE, generates and distributes prime electrical power in support of warfighting, disaster relief, stability and support operations as well as provides advice and technical assistance in all aspects of electrical power and distribution systems. The battalion deployed in support of recovery operations after 9/11 and was instrumental in getting Wall Street back up and running within a week.[29] The battalion also deployed in support of post-Katrina operations.

All of this work represents a significant investment in the nation's resources.

Water resources[edit]

Through its Civil Works program, USACE carries out a wide array of projects that provide coastal protection, flood protection, hydropower, navigable waters and ports, recreational opportunities, and water supply.[30] Work includes coastal protection and restoration, including a new emphasis on a more holistic approach to risk management. As part of this work, USACE is the number one provider of outdoor recreation in the U.S., so there is a significant emphasis on water safety.

Army involvement in works "of a civil nature," including water resources, goes back almost to the origins of the U.S. Over the years, as the nation's needs have changed, so have the Army's Civil Works missions.

Major areas of emphasis include the following:

  • Navigation. Supporting navigation by maintaining and improving channels was the Corps of Engineers' earliest Civil Works mission, dating to Federal laws in 1824 authorizing the Corps to improve safety on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and several ports. Today, the Corps of Engineers maintains more than 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of inland waterways and operates 235 locks. These waterways—a system of rivers, lakes and coastal bays improved for commercial and recreational transportation—carry about 1/6 of the nation's inter-city freight, at a cost per ton-mile about 1/2 that of rail or 1/10 that of trucks. USACE also maintains 300 commercial harbors, through which pass 2,000,000,000 short tons (1.8×109 metric tons) of cargo a year, and more than 600 smaller harbors.
  • Flood Risk Management. The Engineers were first called upon to address flood problems along the Mississippi river in the mid-19th century. They began work on the Mississippi River and Tributaries Flood Control Project in 1928, and the Flood Control Act of 1936 gave the Corps the mission to provide flood protection to the entire country.
  • Recreation. The Corps of Engineers is the nation's largest provider of outdoor recreation, operating more than 2,500 recreation areas at 463 projects (mostly lakes) and leasing an additional 1,800 sites to state or local park and recreation authorities or private interests. USACE hosts about 360 million visits a year at its lakes, beaches and other areas, and estimates that 25 million Americans (one in ten) visit a Corps' project at least once a year. Supporting visitors to these recreation areas generates 600,000 jobs.
  • Hydroelectric Power. The Corps of Engineers was first authorized to build hydroelectric plants in the 1920s, and today operates 75 power plants, producing one fourth of the nation's hydro-electric power—or three percent of its total electric energy. This makes USACE the fifth largest electric supplier in the United States.
  • Shore Protection. With a large proportion of the U.S. population living near our sea and lake shores, and an estimated 75% of U.S. vacations being spent at the beach, there has been Federal interest — and a Corps of Engineers mission — in protecting these areas from hurricane and coastal storm damage.
  • Dam Safety. The Corps of Engineers develops engineering criteria for safe dams, and conducts an active inspection program of its own dams.[23]
  • Water Supply. The Corps first got involved in water supply in the 1850s, when they built the Washington Aqueduct. Today USACE reservoirs supply water to nearly 10 million people in 115 cities. In the drier parts of the Nation, water from Corps reservoirs is also used for agriculture.[7][23][31]
  • Water Safety. The Corps of Engineers has taken an interest in recreational water safety, with current initiatives for increasing the use rate of life jackets and preventing the use of alcohol while boating.

Environment[edit]

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers environmental mission has two major focus areas: restoration and stewardship. The Corps supports and manages numerous environmental programs, that run the gamut from cleaning up areas on former military installations contaminated by hazardous waste or munitions to helping establish/reestablish wetlands that helps endangered species survive.[32] Some of these programs include Ecosystem Restoration, Formerly Used Defense Sites, Environmental Stewardship, EPA Superfund, Abandoned Mine Lands, Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, Base Realignment and Closure, 2005, and Regulatory.

This mission includes education as well as regulation and cleanup.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has an active environmental program under both its Military and Civil Programs.[32] The Civil Works environmental mission that ensures all USACE projects, facilities and associated lands meet environmental standards. The program has four functions: compliance, restoration, prevention, and conservation. The Corps also regulates all work in wetlands and waters of the United States.

The Military Programs Environmental Program manages design and execution of a full range of cleanup and protection activities:

  • cleans up sites contaminated with hazardous waste, radioactive waste, or ordnance
  • complies with federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations
  • strives to minimize our use of hazardous materials
  • conserves our natural and cultural resources

The following are major areas of environmental emphasis:

  • Wetlands and Waterways Regulation and Permitting
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Radioactive site cleanup through the Formerly Used Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP)
  • Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
  • Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS)
  • Support to EPA's Superfund Program

See also Environmental Enforcement below.

Operational facts and figures[edit]

Summary of facts and figures as of 2007, provided by the Corps of Engineers:[23]

  • One HQ, 8 Divisions, 2 Provisional Division, 45 Districts, 6 Centers, one active-duty unit, 2 Engineer Reserve Command
  • At work in more than 90 countries
  • Supports 159 Army installations and 91 Air Force installations
  • Owns and operates 609 dams
  • Owns or operates 257 navigation lock chambers at 212 sites
  • Largest owner-operator of hydroelectric plants in the US. Owns and operates 75 plants—24% of U.S. hydropower capacity (3% of the total U.S. electric capacity)[33]
  • Operates and maintains 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of commercial inland navigation channels
  • Maintains 926 coast, Great Lakes, and inland harbors
  • Dredge 255,000,000 cubic yards (195,000,000 m3) annually for construction or maintenance
  • Nation's number one provider of outdoor recreation with more than 368 million visits annually to 4,485 sites at 423 USACE projects (383 major lakes and reservoirs)[34]
  • Total water supply storage capacity of 329,900,000 acre feet (406.9 km3)
  • Average annual damages prevented by Corps flood risk management projects (1995–2004) of $21 billion (see "Civil works controversies" below)
  • Approximately 137 environmental protection projects under construction (September 2006 figure)
  • Approximately 38,700 acres (157,000,000 m2) of wetlands restored, created, enhanced, or preserved annually under the Corps' Regulatory Program
  • Approximately $4 billion in technical services to 70 non-DoD Federal agencies annually
  • Completed (and continuing work on) thousands of infrastructure projects in Iraq at an estimated cost over $9 billion: school projects (324,000 students), crude oil production 3 million barrels per day (480,000 m3/d), potable water projects (3.9 million people (goal 5.2 million)), fire stations, border posts, prison/courthouse improvements, transportation/communication projects, village road/expressways, railroad stations, postal facilities, and aviation projects. More than 90 percent of the USACE construction contracts have been awarded to Iraqi-owned businesses — offering employment opportunities, boosting the economy, providing jobs, and training, promoting stability and security where before there was none. Consequently, the mission is a central part of the U.S. exit strategy.
  • The Corps of Engineers has one of the strongest Small Business Programs in the Army—Each year, approximately 33% of all contract dollars are obligated with Small Businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, Women Owned Small Businesses, Historically Underutilized Business Zones, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Jackie Robinson-Burnette was named the Chief of the Corps' Small Business Program in May 2010. The program is managed through an integrated network of over 60 Small Business Advisors, 8 Division Commanders, 4 Center Directors, and 45 District Commanders.

Environmental protection and regulatory program[edit]

The regulatory program is authorized to protect the nation's aquatic resources. USACE personnel evaluate permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the nation's waters, including wetlands. Two primary authorities granted to the Army Corps of Engineers by Congress fall under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (codified in Chapter 33, Section 403 of the United States Code) gave the Corps authority over navigable waters of the United States, defined as "those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently being used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce." Section 10 covers construction, excavation, or deposition of materials in, over, or under such waters, or any work that would affect the course, location, condition or capacity of those waters. Actions requiring section 10 permits include structures (e.g., piers, wharfs, breakwaters, bulkheads, jetties, weirs, transmission lines) and work such as dredging or disposal of dredged material, or excavation, filling or other modifications to the navigable waters of the United States. The Coast Guard also has responsibility for permitting the erection or modification of bridges over navigable waters of the U.S.

Another of the major responsibilities of the Army Corps of Engineers is administering the permitting program under Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, also known as the Clean Water Act. The Secretary of the Army is authorized under this act to issue permits for the discharge of dredged and fill material in waters of the United States, including adjacent wetlands.[23] The geographic extent of waters of the United States subject to section 404 permits fall under a broader definition and include tributaries to navigable waters and adjacent wetlands. The engineers must first determine if the waters at the project site are jurisdictional and subject to the requirements of the section 404 permitting program. Once jurisdiction has been established, permit review and authorization follows a sequence process that encourages avoidance of impacts, followed by minimizing impacts and, finally, requiring mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the aquatic environment. This sequence is described in the section 404(b)(1) guidelines.

There are three types of permits issued by the Corps of Engineers: Nationwide, Regional General, and Individual. 80% of the permits issued are nationwide permits, which include 50 general type of activities for minimal impacts to waters of the United States, as published in the Federal Register. Nationwide permits are subject to a reauthorization process every 5 years, with the most recent reauthorization occurring in March, 2012. To gain authorization under a nationwide permit, an applicant must comply with the terms and conditions of the nationwide permit. Select nationwide permits require preconstruction notification to the applicable corps district office notifying them of his or her intent, type and amount of impact and fill in waters, and a site map. Although the nationwide process is fairly simple, corps approval must be obtained before commencing with any work in waters of the United States. Regional general permits are specific to each corps district office. Individual permits are generally required for projects that impact greater than 0.5 acres (2,000 m2) of waters of the United States. Individual permits are required for activities that result in more than minimal impacts to the aquatic environment.

Research[edit]

The Corps of Engineers has two research organizations, the Engineer Research and Development Center

Olmsted Locks and Dam has been under construction for over 20 years under the US Army Corps of Engineers' watch.
Colonel Debra Lewis, the Gulf Region Division Central District commander with Sheik O'rhaman Hama Raheem, an Iraqi councilman, celebrate the opening of a new women's center in Assriya Village that the Corps helped construct in 2006.[4]
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge Tauracavor 3 in New York Harbor.
Mississippi River improvement, 1890
Proctor Lake, Texas, constructed by the Corps of Engineers to provide flood control, drinking water, and recreation
Plan of the military academy at West Point, New York
A bulldozer operated by Sgt. C. G. McCutcheon of the 1304th Engineer Construction Battalion on the Ledo Road, Burma, 1944
Gatun Lock construction, Panama Canal, 12 March 1912
Map of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Engineer divisions and districts
A member of the Radiation Safety Support Team, wearing a hazmat suit, tests excavated soil.

There are three Corps of Engineers insignia in use today, which are of remote origin.

In chronological order of approximate dates of adoption they are:  The Essayons Button, first definitely known to have been worn during the War of 1812; The Turreted Castle, believed to have been worn by the Cadets of West Point during the summer of 1839, and approved for use on the uniform of the Corps of Engineers during the same year:  and The Corps of Engineers Seal, believed to have been designed and used as early as 1866-1867. (Formally designated as the Official Seal April 6, 1897.)

While we do not know who actually executed the designs of these heraldic devices, the Engineer officers who had the most to do with ordering the execution, adoption, or use of these three insignia for the Corps, were all distinguished for the parts they played in shaping the history of our nation.  Each served his country notably; and each reached the top of the Corps by being appointed Chief Engineer of the United States Army.  One of the group had the added distinction of being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry "beyond the call of duty."  And one became Commander-in-Chief of the Army itself.

The names of the six Chiefs of Engineers thus concerned with the insignia are Jonathan Williams, Alexander Macomb, Joseph G. Totten, Richard Delafield, Andrew A. Humphreys, and John Moulton Wilson.

THE ESSAYONS BUTTON

Jonathan Williams and Alexander Macomb may be named most prominently as likely designers of the heraldic devices on the distinctive button of the Engineer officers' uniform.

Col. Jonathan Williams, grand nephew of Benjamin Franklin, was first active in his country's cause at Paris, France, during the American Revolution; and served as secret agent in that country, and also as personal secretary to his uncle while the latter was American Minister at Paris.  A generation after the close of the Revolutionary War, Williams was appointed the first Chief Engineer of the present Corps of Engineers, and the first Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point - both organizations established by the same basic Act of the Congress on March 16, 1802.

Williams' tour of duty did not end until the early period of the War of 1812.  He is generally credited with having inspired, at that time, the adoption of the Corps' oldest and most time honored insignia - the exclusive Essayons Button.  This button has not changed in basic design since its first definitely known use in 1814; and is still the required button for uniform worn by the Army Engineers.

The evidence which could establish the actual facts concerning the designing and adoption of this button probably was completely destroyed by the fire at West Point in 1838, when the building containing the library and earliest official records of the Corps and Military Academy was burned.  Contrary to what has otherwise been stated by some writers, there is no evidence that any distinctive badge, seal, insigne, motto, or other symbolic device ever was adopted for exclusive use by the Continental Army Corps of Engineers established in 1779 under command of General DuPortail.

DuPortail and most of the officers of the Continental Army Corps of Engineers during the American Revolution were French Engineer officers, either on loan from King Louis or outright volunteers in the American cause. (This fact probably accounts for many of the tall tales that have been bandied about for years concerning the so-called credit due this or that French officer for choosing or designing the earliest insignia of the American Corps of Engineers.)  As a matter of fact, every known evidence indicates that all three insignia of the Corps were conceived and designed, or at least approved for adoption, by American Army officers after the establish of the Corps at West Point in 1802.

The work being done by Colonel Williams and his associates during the trying period of the Napoleonic wars (which included, of course, our own War of 1812) furnished foundation aplenty upon which some imaginative American Army officer could conceive the design of an appropriate heraldic device to symbolize army engineering work as it was then being performed by Engineer Corps officers.   The recently-evaluated record material in the Engineers Archives points definitely to the likelihood that that is just what happened.  And significantly, the basis for this conclusion hinges upon the subject of map making - one of the prime activities of Army Engineers since the organization of the Corps in 1802.

The basic device on the Engineer button is described as follows:

. . . . it shows the masonry of the bastion of a marine battery, embrasured and crenellated, surrounded by water, a rising sun with rays, all surmounted by a soaring eagle bearing in its beak a streamer displaying the motto Essayons.

The main elements on the design would appear to commemorate the very important work which Col. Jonathan Williams had been conducting - the fortification of New York Harbor and the harbors of other important Atlantic Coast cities.  This work had been pushed with great speed to protect the country against possible invasion by some one of the great powers then engaged in the Napoleonic struggle in Europe.  It was in 1807 that Colonel Williams, while still superintending the Military Academy, began personally to plan and construct fortifications in New York Harbor that would stop any enemy who essayed the city's capture.  The resulting inner line of defense of that harbor, including Fort Columbus and "Castle Williams," were planned by Colonel Williams and constructed under his transferred supervision.  Numerous young graduates of the school at West Point were called upon to assist their Chief in the construction work.  Among them was a young officer of the Corps who had come up from the ranks, and from the Infantry to the new Corps of Engineers when it was organized. He had received a commission in the Corps, and while stationed at West Point during the Academy's opening year had finished the formal academic course as a student officer.  That was Alexander Macomb - destined to become Chief Engineer, and finally Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army.

By 1807, Macomb had attained the rank of Captain in the Corps.  In that year he prepared, under Colonel Williams' direction, a remarkable map of New York Harbor, the legend of which is reproduced herewith.  [Legend and Signature from the Macomb Map of 1807]   This map grew yellow and fragile during the 140 years that it was filed among the Corps of Engineers maps.  When it was found recently by the writer, its significance in connection with the history of the design of the Essayons Button was immediately apparent.  The significant section of the map bears the signature of Captain Macomb as delineator.  It will be noted that the map contains all the main elements found in the Essayons Button design. There are the surmounting Eagle, the Water Bastion, the Rising Sun with Rays, and the motto Essayons.  In addition to these elements Macomb placed in his drawing a round fort to the right and a frigate entering the space between the two protecting fortifications.  The round fort with flag atop was probably inspired by the "stone tower" then under construction, and known to posterity as "Castle Williams."  Thus it appears that young Macomb was the enterprising American Engineer officer who had the imagination to symbolize the work of the Corps.  Or it may have been Macomb's Chief, Colonel Williams, who furnished the idea for the decorative effect which contained the principal elements of the design on the Button; and himself directed his young assistant to decorate the map of 1807 with his (Williams) own ideas.

We do not know that Colonel Williams, soon after becoming Chief Engineer, and Superintendent of the Academy at West Point, was given carte blanche to select and design his own special uniform for the officers of the new Corps of Engineers.  And we know that he designed a special Engineer uniform.   Whether he designed a button for that uniform before 1807, and whether young Macomb merely used a Williams design for an already existing Essayons Button to decorate his map of 1807 we do not know.  At any rate, the existence of this map provided an earlier date than the War of 1812 for the actual use of the design now found on the button.

Another map, made by Macomb in 1806, of the Charleston, South Carolina harbor, gives us an even earlier date for the use of the Corps' motto Essayons on a flying scroll, held in the beak of the eagle.   The year 1806 now can be accepted as the earliest known date that the Essayons motto was used, and significantly, displayed in much the same manner that it is today on the button.

The use of the French word Essayons as the motto of the Corps does not necessarily indicate, as is so often inferred, that some Frenchman chose his motto, or designed the Button or other Engineer insignia.   Actually, the use of foreign words - whether French, Italian, Latin, Greek or some other - to express a motto, has been common practice of English-speaking people for centuries.  Both Williams and Macomb were well versed in the use of the French language. Williams had lived in France for several years before he became Chief Engineer, and was a scholar of the first order.  Macomb's mother was French and saw to it that her son's early academic education included a well-grounded course in the French language.   We may well assume that when Williams or Macomb happened to be confronted with an engineering problem that someone pronounced impossible of accomplishment, it would have been just as natural for either of these officer's to say, "Essayons" as to say "we will try."  Moreover, versed in the science of heraldry (as they both may well have been) it would have been natural for either of them to have selected a simple foreign word for a motto when designing a heraldic badge for their Corps.

The reason for selecting the date 1814 as the first known date that the button was used, is that it is the earliest year mentioned by any writer as the year the button actually was seen on a uniform by any identified individual.  Gen. George D. Ramsey, in writing about his cadet days at West Point during 1814-1820, made the following statement regarding the uniform worn by Captain Partridge who served as Acting Superintendent of the Academy from 1808 to 1817:

. . . . Captain Partridge was never known to be without uniform. . . . His was that of the Corps of Engineers with the embroidered collar and cuffs and the Essayons Button. . . .

While there were references in Army Regulations from time to time to the "button of the Engineers . . . with only the device and motto heretofore established," there seems to have been no authoritative detailed description of the device on the button until the new Army uniforms were adopted in 1840 (General Orders, 7, AGO, Feb 18, 1840). On that date, for the first time, the button was officially described as follows:

An eagle holding in his beak a scroll with the word "Essayons," a bastion with embrasures in the distance, surrounded by water, and a rising sun; the figures to be of dead gold upon a bright field.  [Engineer Button and Castle]

It is significant that when the above first official description of the Essayons button was published by the War Department in 1840, Alexander Macomb was the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army at Washington; and that the officers of the Corps of Engineers were to have a new uniform, which was to be embellished with an added brand new insigne - the Turreted Castle device.  It would be interesting to know what part, if any, Alexander Macomb, as Comander-in-Chief of the Army, played in selecting or approving the Turreted Castle as a new adornment of the uniform.

THE TURRETED CASTLE

Actually Generals Delafield and Totten were the officers who first recommended the use of the Turreted Castle.  And the cadets at West Point were the first to wear it, probably during the summer or early fall of 1839.

Colonel Delafield was then Superintendent of the Academy at West Point; and in September 1839, made recommendations to General Totten (who was Chief Engineer at Washington) for a new uniform for the West Point Corps of Cadets.  (The Academy, it should be remembered, was under the management of the Chief of Engineers from the date of its establishment in 1802 until after the Civil War in 1866.)  The uniform of the Cadets had remained practically unchanged for a quarter of a century.  Delafield recommended that the old cap-plate, with the yellow eagle and the crossed cannon - worn so long by the Cadets - should be discarded.  He proposed, in lieu of it, "to have the eagle surmounting the wreath encircling the castle, as prescribed for the Corps of Engineers, being the distinctive characteristic of the Corps of which they form a part."  The suggestion was approved by General Totten, October 10, 1839.

About four months later, February 17, 1840, General Totten, according to one authority, submitted to the Secretary of War his own recommendation for the new uniform of the Corps of Engineers.  The following items were specified:

Epaulettes - gold, according to rank, as described in G.O. 36 of 1839; within the crescent, a turreted castle of silver.  Belt plate - rectangular, dead gold field with a bright gold double rim, a wreath of laurel and palm enveloping a turreted castle, raised, in silver, according to design in the Engineer Office.

In the Engineer Archives there are some paintings of the various sections of the proposed uniform, in colors, bearing the signature of Colonel Delafield.  But there is no drawing of the castle separate and standing alone that bears the signature of the Colonel.  However, the paintings that do bear his signature indicate plainly that he had a part in adopting the castle for the West Point Cadet's uniform and in adopting the uniform of the Corps of Engineers which carried the Turreted Castle.  Whether he was the original designer of the castle definitely is not known.

An authoritative writer on the subject of the Castle Insigne of the Corps states that:

In 1841 it was used as the cap ornament, and in 1857 as the hat ornament; in 1872 it appeared on the shoulder knot, but it disappeared from them in 1902 when these devices became "regulation."   In 1896 it made its appearance on the saddle cloth.  As a collar ornament the turreted castle made its first appearance in 1892 on the undress coat collar, embroidered.   In 1894 this was changed to metal (silver).  The castle appeared on the buttons and the shako of the engineer soldiers from 1846 to 1851, and on the forage cap plate from 1846 to 1902, when a "regulation" device was adopted.

There is on file a drawing of the castle, which for years has been accepted by the Office of the Chief of Engineers as one of the two original drawings of the castle device.  On the back of this drawing, in the same handwriting as on the face of the drawing, is the following notation, "Original sent to John Smith, with a section (vertical) thru the wall uniting the towers, and an elevation of the central tower.  Jan. 8th 1840."

A strange coincidence occurred shortly after the writer first came upon the old drawing of the castle now in the Engineer files and believed to have been copied from the original which was noted as having been sent to "John Smith" in January 1840.  A letter was received from Mr. Burton Schwartz, of Brooklyn, New York, stating that an old drawing of the castle had come into his possession.  He advised that this drawing had once belonged to Maj. William D. Fraser, an officer of the Corps of Engineers.  Mr. Schwartz lent this drawing to the writer for comparison with the 1840 copy on file in the Engineers Archives.  Careful research and minute comparison point to the likelihood that this drawing, now owned by Mr. Schwartz, is the original mentioned as having been sent to "John Smith" on January 8, 1840.

This old drawing is reproduced here.   [Original Official Drawing of the Castle Device]   It is one of the most treasured items in the Engineers Archives.  An interesting sidelight is the existence in the files, of a small box containing a pattern, apparently made for use in manufacturing one of the earliest castle ornaments.  The outside of the lid is marked "Engineer Department," and bears the following printed address:

"JOHN SMITH FRASER
CLOTHING WAREHOUSE
122 and 124
BROADWAY, CORNER CEDAR ST.
NEW YORK"

On the inside of the lid to this box containing the metal pattern of a castle device, is the following writing in old by clearly readable ink:

Pattern for die Sinker, to be returned, as it is the only one belonging to the Engineer Office.  The castle on the forage cap of engineer soldiers is to be like this but yellow.  The door and windows pierced through showing the cloth.

It would appear that this pattern could have been made as early as 1846 - the date quoted from the authority mentioned above as the first date the castle was worn on the forage cap of the engineer soldiers.

In designing a heraldic device, whether a badge or coat of arms, the requirements are the commemoration of something noteworthy, simplicity of design, and practicability.  These all were apparent in the design of the Turreted Castle insigne.

The earliest important work of the Corps was concerned with the construction of the castle-like fortifications along the Atlantic Coast.  Many of the them even being named "castles" - such as Castle Williams and Castle Clinton in New York Harbor; the works on Castle Island, in Boston Harbor: and Castle Pinckney, in South Carolina.  The selection of a castle as the badge was, therefore, most appropriate, and the actual castle design fully meets the requirements of simplicity and practicability.

THE SEAL OF THE CORPS

The official Seal of the Corps, reproduced here, is sometimes referred to as the Coat of Arms.  [The Seal of the Corps of Engineers]  It was adopted shortly after the Civil War to commemorate the consolidation of the Corps of Topographical Engineers with the regular Corps of Engineers established in 1802.  The Topographical Corps had been an offshoot of the older corps since its establishment in the 1830's, and the consolidation of the two Corps had taken place in the midst of the Civil War.

Over the years, various Chiefs of Engineers have adopted and changed seals at their pleasure.  What appears to have been the original Seal of the regular Corps of Engineers is said to have been adopted in 1829.  It carried the basic device appearing on the Essayons Button.  Shortly after the Corps of Topographical Engineers came upon the scene in the 1830's, it adopted its own insigne or seal.  This was a red, white, and blue shield, with the letters "T" and "E" displayed prominently to indicate Topographical Engineers.

Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys, who had been a distinguished member of the Corps of Topographical Engineers before the Civil War, is given credit for adopting, or at least ordering, the use of the present Corps of Engineers Seal - or Coat of Arms.  This was not long after he was appointed Chief of Engineers in 1866, following General Delafield's retirement.  The first dated print of this new device which the writer has been able to find bears the inscription, "Engraved in the Engineer Department, 1867."

The significance of the design as commemorating the achievements of both the Corps of Engineers and the Corps of Topographical Engineers is plain to be seen.  The larger shield is divided into three horizontal sections, of which the top usually is represented in solid blue color; while the bottom is divided into vertical (red and white) stripes.  The center section shows the interesting original shields of the two historic corps; the Dexter shield being a reproduction of the basic device of the Engineers' oldest insigne, the Essayons Button; the Sinister shield showing the Corps of Topographical Engineers red, white, and blue shield between the letters "T" and "E".  The eagle and the motto Essayons dominate the overall design, as they originally did in the decorative sections of the Macomb maps of 1806 and 1807.

This Seal was not adopted officially by the Corps until Gen. John M. Wilson, as Chief of Engineers, promulgated his order of April 6, 1897.  [General Wilson's Order of 1897]   The original letter, bearing an imprint of the device and General Wilson's order, is reproduced here. The reproduction of the Seal is made from a tracing of the original.

CONCLUSION

The origin of the various forms of Engineer insignia has been a matter of wide interest and much speculation among engineers for a long time. Several articles on various phases of the subject have appeared in The Military Engineer.  Some of these were admittedly based on legend and the imagination of the writers and others on such records as were available.  While there are still some links in the chain of evidence not yet found, it is believed that this article covers, in an orderly fashion, the facts which are known and includes the names of the officers who had the greatest part in the development of the insignia.  Also, of particular importance are the authentic reproductions of the official devices which accompany the article.

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