Deploying with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to places in the CENTCOM area of responsibility like Afghanistan or to the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility in support of Operation Inherent Resolve can be a rewarding and challenging experience.
Robert McKenney, Middle East District counsel, deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. He never considered deploying until a brief trip to Afghanistan for a trial in 2008.
“I realized it was a unique opportunity for some interesting work and to gain experience in my field,” he said. “The deployment really broadened my horizons. I gained so much experience and handled more issues than I would have back here. In a six-month deployment, I gained about two to three years of real-world experience.”
Mike Abate, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District chief of civil works, programs and project management division, deployed for the first time to Iraq in 2009 and then to Afghanistan in 2011. He served as the area engineer for the south provinces of Baghdad, and eventually became the civilian officer in charge of the region for several months.
“One of the reasons I wanted to deploy was because I was a long-term USACE employee with no military background,” he said. “So I wanted to witness first-hand some of what our Soldiers go through.”
He described his deployment as an eye-opening experience that helped him understand why other organizations may do things a little differently.
“I believe if you’re thinking about deploying, and your home life can handle it, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do,” Abate said. “It’s rewarding work that develops your skill sets and you deal with a lot of unique people from all over the world with different cultures and views.”
Abate got information about deploying from the USACE Deployment Center in Winchester, which closed in 2013. Since then there has been no central online source of information for USACE civilians and others to find information about deploying.
However, as USACE missions continue in Afghanistan and new missions emerge in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, there is an ongoing need for highly qualified personnel to deploy to these locations. In order to recruit the best qualified personnel, both inside and outside of USACE, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Division has launched a Contingency Deployment recruitment website.
Prior to the establishment of the website, most of the information came through USACE District/Division deployment coordinators, other channels or through “word of mouth.” If an employee wanted to research deployments, he/she had to notify someone of their interest. The establishment of the website allows prospective deployees to conduct research on their own before approaching a supervisor or deployment coordinator.
“The division developed the website to provide USACE civilians, civilians from other federal agencies, and non-federal civilians with up-to-date information about deployment opportunities within the Transatlantic Division and U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Carlson, Transatlantic Division commander. “Prospective deployees now have a resource to find out details about pay, benefits and deployed living conditions, all in one place.”
Visit the website at this link: http://www.tad.usace.army.mil/careers/deployments.aspx