By Mr. Justin Matthew Ward (USACE)October 19, 2009
TEL AVIV, Israel - In his first visit to Israel since taking command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, Col. Peter "Duke" DeLuca toured the country October 17-20 meeting with high-ranking Israeli Ministry of Defense officials, including MOD General Manager Pinchas Bochris, and visiting construction sites managed by the Corps' Israel Area Office - all to ensure the U.S. Army continues to help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge over other countries in the region that threaten its security.
Along with USACE Europe District Commander Col. John Kem, DeLuca toured recent construction successes managed by Army engineers stationed there, including the largest Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site in the world at Ze'elim; Nevatim Air Base, where the Corps has managed about $50 million in construction to relocate the Israeli Air Force "mother base;" and the Nachshonim dry storage base, one of the last projects ordered by the 1998 Wye River Memorandum.
The tour also included a visit to Palmahim IAF base, where Army engineers are actively constructing two new hangars and an operations building valued at $6.5 million.
"Our support to Israel's military demonstrates our steadfast commitment to international stability," said Deputy Area Engineer Maj. Landon Raby. "Our proud support to the IDF with their construction projects would not have happened without the belief of their government in the U.S. Army the Corps of Engineers. We treasure our relationship because we know that it is a relationship of choice and trust. And we hope to preserve our relationship by continuing to support critical construction and engineering projects."
Since the late 1990s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has overseen roughly $1 billion in complex, high-quality renovations and new construction, including constructing new command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and Blackhawk simulators.