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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Press Releases


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awards contract for Akutan harbor project

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, has awarded a
$31.9 million contract to Knik Construction Co., Inc., of Anchorage to
construct a boat harbor at Akutan, on an island in the Aleutian Island chain.

The project involves constructing two rock breakwaters totaling approximately
1,500 feet in length and dredging 960,000 cubic yards of material to create
an entrance channel and mooring basin. The contractor will obtain, deliver,
and place rock for the breakwaters. Estimated date for completion is
September 2012.

Akutan is one of five top United States commercial fishing ports with
crabbers, trawlers, smaller vessels and skiffs drawn there for the fish
processing industry on the island. Located 35 miles east of Unalaska and 766
air miles southwest of Anchorage, Akutan does not have protected moorage for
its fishing fleet despite waves of 5 to 6 feet that are common and severe
storms that can sustain waves of 8 feet or more.

During storms, vessels currently anchor in the head of the bay for protection
with a watch crew onboard. Often the crews maintain power to prevent dragging
their anchors.

Total federal funding of $28.6 million came from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. Aleutians East Borough, the local sponsor, provided $3.27

The local sponsor will establish a 40-acre conservation easement near the
project to mitigate for impacts to wetlands and fish streams.

The Corps is spending ARRA money as quickly as possible in order to help put
local contractors to work and help in the nation's economic recovery.

"We are moving quickly to get this money into the hands of the people who
will create jobs while simultaneously working to ensure the best use of these
Recovery Act funds," said Brig. Gen. Mark W. Yenter, commanding general and
division engineer for the Corps' Pacific Ocean Division. "To date, the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division has obligated $66 million, or
93 percent, of the $71 million allocated for Civil Works projects in Alaska.
Nearly $59 million of this amount has been contracted out for critically
needed navigation projects, to include constructing a harbor at Akutan and
work at Seward Harbor, Anchorage Harbor, and Cordova Harbor."
Mar. 3, 2010 Release No.

Alaska District stands up first FEST-A team in U.S. Army

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska District is the first in the worldwide organization of
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stand up and deploy an engineering field
force unit to support military operations at war or disaster relief missions.
The unit will be staffed by mostly civilian engineers.

For its first assignment, Alaska's 62nd Engineer Detachment, a Forward
Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A), has been tasked to support the 3rd
Infantry Division's Overseas Contingency Operation rebuilding efforts in
Iraq. The Alaska District will send off the team with a deployment ceremony
March 8 at the Alaska District's headquarters building on Elmendorf Air Force

The FEST-A team consists of an Army officer who serves as the team leader and
a senior noncommissioned officer, along with civilians with expertise in
civil, environmental, mechanical and electrical engineering, geographic
information systems and contracting.

As an example, the team can provide engineering planning and design for base
camp development, infrastructure assessments, technical engineering and some
contracting services. Whenever a problem in the field needs quick resolution,
team members will be able to talk directly with designated Corps experts in
the United States via a "reach back" tele-engineering capability.

The Corps was motivated to establish on-call volunteer FEST-A teams to
support established military units because military needs have changed since
the Cold War, according to Col. Reinhard Koenig, Alaska District commander.
He noted that the Army is now an expeditionary force that needs base camps in
far flung places where there is no established infrastructure. Basic needs
such as housing and utilities must be constructed quickly from the ground up
to support rapidly evolving military and relief missions.

The Army and the Corps discovered a gap in their ability to rapidly provide
facilities that U.S. service members needed to conduct operations in austere
environments such as Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan,
Koenig said during a ceremony to activate the Corps' first permanent FEST-A
team Feb. 22 at the Alaska District.

To fill this gap in recent years, the Corps formed several temporary
volunteer FEST-A teams for short-term deployments to support war efforts and
tsunami and hurricane disaster relief missions. After these temporary teams
proved the need for this type of support, the Army took the unprecedented
step of making civilian teams a permanent official part of Army units.
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