By Cadet Justin DavisJuly 24, 2019
My name is Justin Davis and I am an intern with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers in their Louisville District. I am currently a double civil and environmental engineering major at Clarkson University in upstate New York and a cadet in the Golden Knight Battalion that encompasses Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton. Next semester I will be entering my senior year in the Army ROTC program and will be serving as the battalion S4.
Since before high school I knew that military service was of great interest to me. My family has a history of service in all branches of the military that dates back to the American Revolution. More specifically to the engineer regiment, my grandfather served with the 8th Army Engineer Corps during the Korean War and his service has inspired me to be an engineer officer one day and continue in his footsteps. Coming to the Louisville District this summer I had little knowledge of the scope of work that the Corps of Engineers does in both the civilian and military world and have been extremely humbled at the sheer size and magnitude of the infrastructure it builds and maintains.
During my time in the district I have been working in the Operations Division and supporting the Inland Electronic Navigation Charting (IENC) program using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). I even had the chance to go out onto the Ohio River and work along with the hydrographic surveying team on one of their survey boats! I believe that getting an idea of how these different programs work will certainly make me more of an expert of my profession in the future.
I also had the opportunity to visit McAlpine lock and Dam, and Markland Lock and Dam. Both of these projects amazed me in their size and importance to commerce and national society. I was also amazed to see some of the equipment in the gear houses of the locks and tainter gates from the 1950-60's time frame still working flawlessly and to some extent better than if it was just installed. I also had the opportunity to visit levee systems and a pumping station located near Jeffersonville, Indiana. These experiences will greatly impact my understanding of civil engineering and how important these systems are to protecting the residents along the Ohio River from flood events.
Often times for a student you do not get these types of opportunities to see real world feats of engineering with actual problems that affect people's everyday lives. It was incredible to see how these systems work with each other and how important it is to have a well-rounded team to manage them.
Overall I consider myself very lucky to have worked in a district with such a supporting team of professionals. The management structure between divisions and the effective communication displayed is something that I will take away from my time here. Everyone that I encountered went out of their way to mentor, show or teach me aspects of what the U.S Army Corps of Engineers does on a day-to-day basis. This experience in the Louisville District is something that will follow me throughout my career as an engineer and an army officer.