GREENVILLE, Ky. --
On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples visited the generator staging base in Greenville, Kentucky, where 61 generators are staged to assist local, state, and federal partners after severe storm and tornado events swept through western Kentucky on December 10, 2021.
Severe storms and tornadoes tore through Kentucky and seven other states, devastating more than a thousand homes over 200 miles and leaving approximately 12,300 residents without power. 135 personnel from several Corps of Engineers districts are on the ground and supporting multiple Federal Emergency Management Agency mission assignments. The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division is currently responding to three of these mission assignments in the affected areas, including temporary emergency power, debris removal, and infrastructure assessments. 55 USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division personnel have been deployed, with $5.4 million in funding to assist in these efforts.
The Louisville District has received a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin debris removal and disposal in Graves County, Kentucky, which includes the town of Mayfield. The $120 million mission assignment for direct federal assistance will include removal and disposal of approximately two million cubic yards of debris from Graves County where severe weather and tornadoes caused widespread devastation Dec. 10-11, 2021.
The Louisville District is home to one of seven Debris Planning and Response Teams across USACE, with leadership embedded in the Kentucky Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center. Staff will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to provide supplies and technical assistance, as requested.
USACE issued a contract Dec. 20 to DRC Emergency Services out of Louisiana. Initial removal and disposal operations are anticipated to begin on Dec. 26. Cleanup operations are expected to last approximately four months.
Louisville District Commander, Col. Eric Crispino, visited the debris removal site in Mayfield on Dec. 30, 2021, and discussed the progress as the mission continues to make progress throughout the affected area.
"Our debris removal contractor is on site, mobilized, and bringing in more trucks each day," said Col. Crispino. "We're starting to do right-of-way debris clearance in downtown Mayfield and we're starting to pick up momentum every day.... It's going to be a long several weeks ahead of us, there's still a lot of debris in the town of Mayfield, and we've got a great crew here with the Louisville District and other districts from across the Army Corps of Engineers putting forth a great effort to get the city of Mayfield and Graves County cleaned back up."
The Pittsburgh District, as well as the 249th Engineer Battalion – Prime Power Team, are supporting the temporary power mission assignment. The power planning response team deployed Sunday, December 12 to the generator staging base in Greenville, Kentucky. The Pittsburgh District has delivered 16 generators, with FEMA transporting additional generators throughout the week. As of Wednesday, December 16, over 100 personnel are on the ground at the generator staging base in Greenville, Kentucky, with 61 generators ready for installation at the request of the State and FEMA. These generators will provide power to critical facilities such as hospitals, emergency departments and shelters for displaced community members. Additionally, the generators will power water pumps to provide clean water to the affected areas.
Bob Isler, lock and dam equipment mechanic supervisor with the Pittsburgh District, is on the ground at the generator staging base to assist in the installation of generators, discussing one generator that was recently installed at a nearby shelter.
"Just the attitude and emotion that these people presented makes it well worth it," says Isler. "We're here to support America, we're here to support our neighbors, and that's what it's all about."
On Wednesday, December 15, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Commander, Col. Kimberly Peeples, visited the generator staging base to view the progress of the emergency response missions.
“We are honored to be a part of this mission, and I’m particularly proud of our Louisville District in the lead, but also every Corps of Engineers employee who has raised their hand to be a part of this important mission,” said Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Commander Col. Peeples, “I want to thank you all, and our hearts go out to those in need.”
For more information on the ongoing emergency response mission assignments, visit the Louisville District's emergency response webpage.
For daily updates from the field, follow the Louisville and Pittsburgh District’s social media pages, https://www.facebook.com/LouisvilleUSACE/, https://twitter.com/LouisvilleUSACE, https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghUSACE/, https://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/.