Feats of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

February 22, 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have achieved some extraordinary engineering feats during their history.

Field engineers face trials and tribulation every day from unexpected storms, not having that special piece of equipment that allows you to literally “move mountains.”

As we mark Engineers Week, here’s an opportunity to honor the contributions of the Corps by reading a few great stories about military engineers at work in battle with Mother Nature’s uncertainties and whims of violent, life threatening often unpredictable happenings. The following publications are currently available for sale through the U.S. Government Bookstore.

008-022-00359-2A Mission in the Desert: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque District 1985-2010, highlights the accomplishments of the Albuquerque District U.S. Army of Engineers and their contributions to the development of the southwest.

008-022-00360-6Transatlantic Afghanistan District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, A Year in Pictures June 2014-2015 a heavily illustrated book, with photos showcasing successes and friendship mementos of the USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District teams during their tumultuous Afghan journey.

Harry E. Schwarz and the Development of Water Resources and Environmental Planning: Planning Methods in an Era of Challenge and Change. Harry E. Schwarz, was the first practitioner in a major Federal agency, and indeed in the international community, to adopt and implement many of the ideas about methods and practice of modern water resources planning and management in the Corps of Engineers.


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Ed Kessler is a Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office.

Nothing but Praise: A History of the 1321st Engineer General Service Regiment

April 12, 2010

When I drew up a list of possible blog topics, this new book from the Army Corps of Engineers was an obvious choice for someone like me, who likes to investigate less well- known historical subjects. There were three reasons for me to be interested. Although key to the success of any army, Engineer units tend to labor in the shade of more “glamorous” branches. Also, even though African-Americans made up the bulk of enlisted personnel in World War II-era engineer outfits, their accomplishments are even less well-known that those of the Corps overall. Finally, Nothing but Praise was written by the 1321st’s commanding officer, Aldo H. Bagnulo. It consists of his unpublished history of the unit, a diary he kept during the war, and an extensive array of photographs of  unit personnel and activities. (The book was carefully edited and annotated by Corps historian Michael J. Brodhead).

The 1321st was an Engineer General Service regiment, which means that its personnel were well-trained in the various building and engineering trades before deployment overseas. The regiment’s job was to build and maintain bridges, roads, and various structures needed to keep wartime supplies stored and supply lines moving. In the course of its service in France and Germany, from December 1944 until several months after Germany’s surrender, the 1321st worked diligently and well in all kinds of weather and quasi-combat conditions in highly creditable fashion, as documented by the receipt of the Bronze Star by six officers and nine enlisted men. Viewed from this perspective, Bagnulo sheds welcome light on the crucial but often neglected role of the Army Corps of Engineers in supporting the logistics of war.

Bagnulo’s treatment of the racial aspects of his command is intriguing. His unpublished manuscript never refers to race at all. Reading it out of the context of this published edition makes it sound like every other small military unit – the rigors of training, the weeding out of the less fit, the occasional wild party, terrible weather, back-breaking work, intense fear, and finally a feeling of accomplishment duly rewarded by official recognition of a job well done.

In his diary, Bagnulo does mention race a few times. It’s clear that, although a man of his time, he made a conscious effort to eschew prejudice. One issue he cites as productive of tension after V-E Day sprang from his African-American officers’ concern about fairness in promotion; Bagnulo strongly endorsed merit promotion in two meetings with them, which he seemed to think was helpful. He was clearly comfortable with addressing such issues head-on, which must have been unusual in those days.

In mid-1945, the 1321st shipped out to the Pacific theater, didn’t get there before the surrender of Japan, and spent several months building roads and bridges in Korea before demobilization. Afterward, Bagnulo had a long career in the Army and at NASA before retiring.

The verdict: A valuable read for anyone interested in the sinews of war and the story of  race relations in America. Nothing but Praise is available from GPO.

For more about the creation of Nothing but Praise, check out this Army Corps of Engineers video. Note: GPO’s Creative Services organization did a great job in designing this book.

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