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Tulsa District Corps celebrates 75th Anniversary

Published July 1, 2014
July 1, 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District.

July 1, 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District.

TULSA, Okla. — July 1, 1939, the doors to the newly established U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District office opened in the Petroleum Building in Tulsa. The district received $11 million for work on eight engineering projects authorized by the federal government for flood control.

The district’s mission began as a civil works district to provide engineering support in response to floods in parts of the heartland and crippling drought in others, but the district soon focused on military construction. On December 1, 1941, six days before the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill transferring all military construction from the Quartermaster Corps to the Corps of Engineers.

During World War II, the Tulsa District placed $800 million in military construction and procured special engineering equipment costing more than $100 million to include Tulsa’s Aircraft Assembly Plant #3 and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.  Except for a 20-year period between 1961 and 1981, Tulsa District provided design and construction support to military installations in Oklahoma and Texas.

Civil Works and Military Construction are still the main missions of the Tulsa District.

The Arkansas River and the Red River basins form the geographic boundary for the district’s Civil Works mission. These two river basins cover the southern half of Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and the northern part of Texas and the panhandle.

In the Civil Works mission, the district maintains 38 multipurpose lakes to provide flood damage reduction. Water stored in the lakes is for water supply, hydropower, navigation, fish and wildlife, and recreation. Cumulative flood damage reduction provided by Tulsa District projects is estimated to be $17.4 billion. District lakes provide water supply to more than 2 million people, and there are 267 recreation areas at 33 projects. More than 22 million people visit Tulsa District recreation areas annually.

The district’s Military Construction mission provides engineering and construction management services to two Army and four Air Force installations in Oklahoma and Texas. Examples of our work include the Medical Facility at Tinker Air Force Base, the Reserve Center at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, and the Air Defense Artillery School at Fort Sill.

Another area of responsibility for the district is International and Interagency Support to provide construction management for other federal agencies, states, and communities as well as Native American Tribes. These agencies and tribes find that they can call on Tulsa District to provide engineering, contracting, and management capabilities.

One final major responsibility for the district is responding to natural disasters. The Corps of Engineers sends engineers and support people to assist following tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes such as Katrina and Sandy and recent tornados in Alabama and Joplin.

The Corps of Engineers is part of the national federal disaster response force activated on declared national disasters.

The dedicated employees of Tulsa District continue to build on the foundation of the organization’s distinguished past.