From Kansas City to St. Louis – Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general, covered over 250 miles while he visited the Heartland last week.
Lt. Gen. Spellmon visited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, to see the district’s projects and the people behind the great work supporting our nation on Jan. 26, 2023.
“I want to get out in the field and hear what our people are doing or what our people need so I can take that back to D.C. with me,” Spellmon said during a meeting with USACE staff.
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP)
His first stop was at LCAAP, located just east of Kansas City, Missouri. Lake City is the Army’s only active small arms ammunition plant and falls within the Kansas City District footprint for military construction.
Lt. Gen. Spellmon, Col. Travis Rayfield, Kansas City District commander, Bryan Smith, Kansas City District deputy district engineer for program and project management, and other district leaders met with Lake City’s senior leaders to discuss how USACE is supporting modernization at LCAAP.
During a site tour, leadership saw the current ammunition plant and its operation. They also saw multiple projects USACE has constructed, or are leading planning and design. The projects included the water treatment plant, explosive waste incinerator, wastewater treatment plant, levees, and the location of a production plant that will create the next generation of small arms ammunition for the Army.
Flight Tour of the Missouri River
Next, leadership observed many miles of the Missouri River from the air and discussed the Kansas City District’s current river operations. At the heart of these discussions were two of the eight congressionally authorized operations USACE maintains, which are flood control and navigation along the river.
Different dikes and revetments that help maintain navigation could be seen from above. Leaders discussed ongoing Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, or BSNP, repairs to flow structures like the dikes and revetments. These repairs are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL, formerly known as the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, or IIJA, and the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, or DRSAA. The Kansas City District received over $468 million since 2019 to fund BSNP repairs through these channels.
They also discussed levee repairs completed in the last year and a half, after local flooding impacted four levees along the Missouri River in summer 2021.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West Campus
His next stop was in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Next National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West campus project site. It has been almost two years since Lt. Gen. Spellmon visited the site of the $1.7 billion facility. During his first visit, the NGA team was in the midst of constructing the building’s foundation. In the 22 months since, the building’s construction has progressed significantly.
The Next NGA West campus facility will be over 700,000 square feet, house over 3,000 employees and is expected to last 100 years.
Lt. Gen. Spellmon met with USACE project staff at the NGA project site to discuss the project and current initiatives that will pave the future for projects like the Next NGA West campus.
He also discussed taking pride in the work completed.
“Everything we [as USACE] build is so unique, and what you have built here in St. Louis is absolutely one-of-a-kind,” Spellmon said to the NGA team during an all-hands meeting.
The Replacement John Cochran VA Hospital
The leadership team closed out their Kansas City District visit with a project brief and window tour of the future John Cochran VA Hospital project site, located in St. Louis, Missouri. The district is leading the planning, design and construction of the $1.5 billion new hospital bed tower and associated facilities.
Lt. Gen. Spellmon presented four commanders coins to Kansas City District employees who were nominated by their supervisors and peers for going above and beyond in their positions. Employees recognized included:
- Kenny Schneider, towboat operator
- Alexandra Henderson Connors, Construction Management Technology Modernization manager (Dave Manka, Kansas City District chief of construction, accepted on her behalf)
- Maj. Stanley Kareta, Kansas City District chief of staff
- Tahssien Al Azawi, electrical engineer at the Next NGA West campus project
It was a whirlwind 24-hours for Lt. Gen. Spellmon to visit several of the Kansas City District’s projects. Although the trip spanned many miles, showcasing the people of the Kansas City District, it's mission and value to the nation were the highlight of the trip.