INDIAN MOUND, Tenn. (Jul 13, 2020) -- Something huge made a commotion in the water, sending ripples in every direction, and making the hair on your skin stand on end. The slow current of a muddy river glided by the bank, barely visible from the steaming, vivid-green vegetation in what looked like a scene from the movie Jurassic Park. There are not supposed to be any alligators in the Cumberland River, but on this blistering-hot day in July, it sure seemed like there could be. There are not supposed to be soldiers on the Cumberland River either, but suddenly, a group of smiling soldiers appeared from the brush and formed into a circle to take in the beauty of the scenery.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Nashville District hosted a leadership development event at the Lock C dock on the Cumberland River in Indian Mound, Tenn. The training was offered to commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Corps of Engineers for both the Nashville District and the 326th Engineer Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell Ky.
Capt. Luke C. Dressman, from the 326th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division who is currently assigned on detail to the Nashville District led the training.
“Today I’m conducting leadership development training where I will go over some the history of the Engineers,” said Dressman. “What requirements led to the establishment of the Nashville District and our role in water navigation; the history of Lock C and what it was used for, and what opportunities there are for any active duty engineers who want to come work for the Corps.”
Lock C is down stream of Nashville and Clarksville on the Cumberland River. This training came at an opportune time, because later this month, the 326th Engineers will be using Lock C to transport their equipment by barge to Louisiana for their training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, La. In the past, Fort Campbell would deploy units to this training using rail, but this will be a new, cost-saving way of doing business, and everyone seems excited by the opportunity.
Dressman highlighted the benefits of the training; “It’s just a good way to bring all the active duty military at the Nashville District along with our counterparts at the 101st Airborne to demonstrate what we do at the Corps as well as some of the history along the way.”
Many soldiers are unaware of the training opportunities which are available inside or outside of the military which are relevant to their careers.
“A lot of times we get stuck in the traditional career path in the military, I think it’s very important to sometimes get outside of your comfort zone to do something different, like going to work for USACE or other broadening assignments out there,” said Dressman. “I think it gives you a unique perspective that you can then bring back to the military and truly adds another level to your leadership ability.”
For the soldiers who participated in the training, Dressman said he hoped: “they learn a little bit about history, enjoy themselves at the site, and hopefully they will at least be aware of what opportunities are out there,” said Dressman. “That way if they get in the position in their career where they can go and do one of these jobs, that they don’t hesitate to take the initiative.”