US Army Corps of Engineers Marks 130 Years in Memphis

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(Memphis) The Memphis Division of the Army Corps of Engineers is celebrating its 130th birthday.

They say without their continued work over the last century and without the work to upgrade the city's levee system, flooding would be a much bigger problem.

Gene Dodson joined Memphis's division of the Corps of Engineers in the 1950’s and came back Thursday to wish it happy birthday, “I think it's doing really good. It's a real good organization and the do their job well."

Dodson's seen a lot of history and change over the years and says the Corps is as strong as ever, despite budget cuts.

The Memphis Division of the Army Corps of Engineers says the biggest challenge it has ever faced was the historic flood of 2011. 

But, all the work they had done over the past century, like levees worked, and withstood any flood water.

The system performed as it was designed to but left the levees with some damage.

Congress gave the Corps three hundred million dollars to fix the flood walls.

“We're restoring and refurbishing the levees. None of our levees failed but they had damages,” said Division Commander Vernie Reichling Jr.

Dressed in the uniform he would have worn when his office opened in 1882 Reichling says the corps is also continuing work on the river channel. 

Over the years they dredged a channel into the Mississippi River so boats can navigate even when the water is extremely low like right now.

“Because of the work we've done through the navigation program we have been able to maintain commerce. We've yet to have a grounding inside the channel due to this low water,” said Reichling.

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