View Full Version : Question about "US Army Corps of Engineers" history?
29th October 2003, 12:43 AM
I've been searching the net looking for information on the Army's domestic construction projects during WWII. In 1941 the US Army Corps of Engineers got control over construction of military projects. I was wondering how the Corps got more people for the undertaking of the new bases, bridges, plants, ect. If they got them from the regular Army divisions, or got civilian employees.
The reason I ask is I'm writing a story around this period, and I was wondering about the construction divisons of the Army in WWII. (The non-combative side of the military supporting the war effort.)
29th October 2003, 09:26 AM
My own understanding of it is also hazy. But I was a combat engineer in the 80’s.
Mostly the corps of engineers acts as a contractor to manage the big projects. Few regular troops would be involved. This role developed out of the job of building fortifications.
One job that I know did have a mixed army and civilian crew was the highway built through Canada into Alaska during WWII. Army troops built a dirt pilot road that was then used by civilian crews to build the paved highway. Many of the military crews were black engineer units that were picked for this task because of segregation.
29th October 2003, 11:17 AM
See if this helps:
US Army Corps of Engineers Office of History (http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/history/index.htm)
30th October 2003, 09:18 PM
The website give the history, but what does one have to do to get into the Army corps of Engineers? Do they do through regular Army boot camp, then get trained? (I very igorant on the process to get in.)
31st October 2003, 06:08 PM
The Corps of Engineers construction projects are done by civilian contractors.
Senior officers in the corps issue a set of specifications and put everything out to bid. Pretty much all the design and construction is by civilian contractors. The Corps does employee some civilians directly, and they are like any other civil servant.
In fact, pretty much the whole process has been contracted out now. A Halburton Subsidiary built the Army facilities in Bosnia.
The responsibilities of the Corps can be divided into three parts:
1.) Big civil engineering projects. These are things like Hoover Dam. The Corps directs the project and the Civilians do everything else.
2.) Army base construction and management of facilities. More and more of this is done by civilians, but some of the work is still done by uniformed personnel just to get some practice at construction in case they have to do it in a war zone.
3.) Battlefield support. This is the work of Combat Engineers. The job consists of doing anything and everything to support the mobility of friendly troops and oppose the enemy. Sometimes engineers units work behind the lines building roads and fixing broken things. Other times it means blowing up obstacles in the way of a friendly advance. This is what my job was way back in the ‘80s, but never near a war zone. Others on this board with real experience are Huntsman, who is still in Iraq but posts on occasion and Pirate Lad. Pirate Lad is a Marine Corps Combat Engineer, but it is the same job. So far the big task in Iraq was building a pipeline for fuel across the sand to support the advance on Baghdad.
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