United States Army Corps of Engineers

The beginning of the United States Army Corps of Engineers dates back to June 16, 1775, when the Continental Congress formed an army with a chief engineer and two assistants. However, it wasn’t until 1779 that Congress created a separate Corps of Engineers. Since their beginning, politicians wanted the Corps to apply their knowledge to both civilian and military construction. They are responsible for constructing roads, infrastructures and buildings, implementing the clean water act, creation of jetties to assist in flood control, and maintaining navigable waterways by dredging. 

There are nine different divisions scattered across the United States reaching the furthest Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern parts of the country. The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division serves the Great Lakes region. They have been vital in constructing lighthouses, piers, ports, and generating detailed maps of the rivers, lakes, and waterways scoured through the region. 

The Army Corps of Engineers’ mission is to “maintain the non-linear system comprised of interdependent locks, ports, harbors, navigation channels, dredged material disposal facilities, and navigation structures is essential to preserving the health and vitality of the region and the nation in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

The Corps of Engineers are responsible for operating and maintaining three locks on the U.S. side of the lakes; the Black Rock Lock in Buffalo, NY, Chicago Lock in Chicago, IL, and the Poe and McArthur Locks in the Soo. The most recent project the Corps has undertaken is the development and creation of a new lock at the Soo in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan. This new lock is intended to be completed in the next seven to ten years and will boost the flow and cut down the amount of time needed to pass through the locks without losing or dampening the gross domestic products of goods coming and going. 

The Army Corps of Engineers flag is represented by a brick castle on a red border as seen here on this three-foot-long rectangular flag. The three-tower castle was unofficially adopted as the Corps emblem in 1840. It wasn’t until 1902 that this flag became the official flag.

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