Kansas City to St. Louis – Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, traveled more than 250 miles while visiting the Heartland last week.
Lieutenant General Spellmon visited the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District to see the district’s projects and the people behind the great work supporting our nation on January 26, 2023.
“I want to go out in the field and hear what our people are doing or what our people need, so I can take it to Washington with me,” Spellmon said during a meeting with USACE staff.
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP)
His first stop was at LCAAP, located east of Kansas City, Missouri. Lake City is the Army’s only active small arms ammunition facility and falls within the Kansas City District’s footprint for military construction.
Lieutenant General Spellmon, Col. Travis Rayfield, Kansas City District Commander, Bryan Smith, Kansas City District Deputy Engineer for Program and Project Management, and other district leaders met with senior leaders from Lake City to discuss how USACE is supporting modernization at the LCAAP.
During a tour of the site, the leadership saw the current munitions facility and how it works. They have also seen several projects that USACE has built or are driving planning and design. Projects included the water treatment plant, explosive waste incinerator, sewage treatment plant, levees and the location of a manufacturing plant that will create the next generation of small arms ammunition for the ‘army.
Missouri River Flight Tour
Afterwards, the leadership looked down on many miles of the Missouri River and discussed the current river operations of the Kansas City District. Central to these discussions were two of the eight congressional-sanctioned operations that USACE maintains, which are flood control and river navigation.
From above, several embankments and revetments could be seen that help maintain navigation. Leaders discussed the ongoing Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, or BSNP, repairs to flow structures such as dams and revetments. These remediations 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 has received more than $468 million since 2019 to fund BSNP repairs through these channels.
They also discussed levee repairs completed over the past year and a half after local flooding affected four levees along the Missouri River in the summer of 2021.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West Campus
The next stop was in St. Louis, Missouri at the Next National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West campus project site. It has been nearly two years since Lieutenant General Spellmon visited the site of the $1.7 billion facility. During its first visit, the NGA team was constructing the foundation for the building. Over the next 22 months, construction on the building progressed significantly.
The Next NGA West campus facility will be over 700,000 square feet, house over 3,000 employees, and expected to last 100 years.
Lieutenant General Spellmon met with USACE project staff at the NGA project site to discuss the project and ongoing initiatives that will pave the way for projects such as the Next NGA West campus.
He also discussed being proud of the work completed.
“All of us [as USACE] build is so unique and what you have built here in St. Louis is absolutely one of a kind,” Spellmon told the NGA team during an all hands meeting.
Deputy John Cochran VA Hospital
The leadership team concluded their visit to the Kansas City district with a project presentation and a 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 new $1.5 billion hospital bed tower and associated facilities.
Lieutenant General Spellmon presented four Commander’s Coins to Kansas City District employees who were nominated by their supervisors and colleagues for going above and beyond in their positions. Recognized employees include:
- Kenny Schneider, tug operator
- Alexandra Henderson Connors, Construction Management Technology Modernization Manager (Kansas City District Construction Chief Dave Manka accepted on his 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 Lieutenant General Spellmon to tour several Kansas City district projects. Although the trip spanned many miles, showcasing the people of the Kansas City district, his mission and value to the nation was a highlight of the trip.