Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering projects to serve communities thanks to new legal authority

Pittsburgh District
Published June 21, 2024
Updated: June 21, 2024
A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt for post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Stanton, a U.S. Army Reserve construction supervisor for the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), gives his Soldiers instruction during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

Knox McRae, left, a maintenance worker for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, observes Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.

Spc. Devon McClain, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), marks a spot to dig a post hole during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 32

Spc. Devon McClain, and fellow a U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), take measurements during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 32

Spc. Devon McClain, and fellow a U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), take measurements during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 32

Spc. Logan Miller, right, and a fellow a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), review the plans during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 32

Spc. Logan Miller, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, and 1st Lt. Evia Nelson, a platoon leader from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), review the plans during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 32

A U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), dumps out a wheel barrel of dirt during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 15 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt for post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 16 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt for post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 17 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 18 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), use a skid steer with an auger attachment to dig out post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 19 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), use a skid steer with an auger attachment to dig out post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 20 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt for post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 21 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt for post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 22 of 32

A U.S. Army Reserve Soldier from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), operates a skid steer during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 23 of 32

Spc. Tristan DiMarco, center, and fellow U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt from a hole to construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 24 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 25 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 26 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 27 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 28 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), unload construction equipment to build a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 29 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), unload construction equipment to build a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 30 of 32

Waters from Crooked Creek Lake reflect colorful clouds at sunrise in Ford City, Pennsylvania, June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 31 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 366th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction) provide electrical upgrades to a maintenance facility at the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir, in Wayland, Ohio, May 22, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Ashely Ritenour)

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 32 of 32

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 366th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction) provide electrical upgrades to a maintenance facility at the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir, in Wayland, Ohio, May 22, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Ashely Ritenour)

PITTSBURGH – The site of shovels and heavy equipment was nothing new for Soldiers as they scooped dirt from various holes into wheel barrels, then dumped each load onto an ever-growing mound. Soldiers regularly dig foxholes or fighting positions in the field.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
A U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), dumps out a wheel barrel of dirt during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2066

Except, they were not building defense or firing positions for a typical training exercise surrounded by enemy forces. Instead of weapon racks and crates of ammunition, Soldiers unloaded plastic slides and swing sets from the back of military utility trucks.

The project? A children’s playground.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2361

As the Soldiers worked, picnic tables, pavilions, and a cool summer breeze surrounded them, not gunfire and wargames.

“I think it’s awesome being able to do a project that will be open to the public and used for many years to come,” said 1st Lt. Evia Nelson, a platoon leader from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction).

“We are able to show the world that we have the tools and the skills to take on anything,” she said.

The platoon of Soldiers digging dirt and pouring concrete belonged to a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Butler, Pennsylvania.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2371

Building the playground was no child’s play, however. They worked the project in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They used their official military occupational skills for work that will serve the public and keep children safe.

“We met with the playground inspector, I never realized how much work and inspection goes into playgrounds,” said Nelson.

“There is so much planning that goes into building a playground, even just the depth of the pole, what’s under the pole to support it, how big each hole is, how much concrete to use. They inspect the playground weekly. That shows how important the safety is. You have to build it correctly,” she said.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Spc. Devon McClain, and fellow a U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), take measurements during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2207

For first time in years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can partner with military reserve units to use troops for labor at no cost, so long as the project relates to water resources.

But how is a playground related to federal waters? The playset not was not part of slip-and-slide splash park, after all.

The project took place at Crooked Creek Lake, one of 16 reservoirs managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District to limit downstream flooding. The federally-funded reservoir also benefits visitors who enjoy water sports or bring their families to the surrounding playgrounds and campgrounds. The Soldiers’ work will contribute to a better visitor experience.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Waters from Crooked Creek Lake reflect colorful clouds at sunrise in Ford City, Pennsylvania, June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-1013

“They are doing real work. It’s stuff we need done, and we have just been short-handed,” said Knox McRae, one of the three maintenance workers at Crooked Creek Lake. “We are trying to make things better for our visitors. It’s good training for the Soldiers, and it gives us a good product in return.”

The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 passed new authorizations, allowing USACE to use Army and military reserve labor for specific projects. Previously, USACE could not use reserve troops due to restrictions in fiscal law.

WRDA 2022 removed that restriction, and the Pittsburgh District is one of the first across USACE to take advantage of the new partnership.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Knox McRae, left, a maintenance worker for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, observes Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2275

“This arrangement is beneficial to USACE, military reserve unites and the taxpayer,” said James Shibata, the chief of the Programs and Project Management Branch for the Pittsburgh District.

“It uses funding more efficiently by limiting travel costs for reserve units and allows USACE to stretch funding by being able to accomplish more. It also benefits the taxpayer because we can get more done with the same amount of funds,” he said.

The reserve Soldiers operated heavy machinery, conducted project planning, used survey equipment, handled power tools, measured construction dimensions and materials, mixed and poured concrete – all skills they might use again on military projects in the future.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), use a skid steer with an auger attachment to dig out post holes during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-1820

Many of those Soldiers have civilian careers in construction work. Some are plumbers, electricians, carpenters or union laborers.

“I work in concrete in my civilian life. That’s back-breaking work,” said Spc. Tristan DiMarco, who said he joined a vertical construction unit in the Army Reserve to get away from concrete.

“But when this project came up, they put me on the concrete team because of my experience. Man, I just can’t get away from it,” DiMarco said, laughing.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2427

Joking aside, DiMarco said he was thankful to put his military skills to work in a way that could benefit the community. A few years ago, he would not have been able to build this playground as part of his official Army duty.

“Since we meet only once a month for battle assembly, sometimes it’s really hard to get that hands-on training, and to be able to do a project that involves concrete, gravel work, hands-on construction, it’s great being able to work with the Corps of Engineers because they’re able to get us those materials,” Nelson said.

She also mentioned that for some of the younger Soldiers new to the Army, this was their first big project together, and it was very rewarding. The project allowed her platoon to work together as a team and pass knowledge from the more experienced noncommissioned officers down to the junior Soldiers.

“The amount of knowledge I’ve seen pass on in just a few days of working here is crazy. I have learned so much just being here seven days,” Nelson said.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Staff Sgt. Tyler Stanton, a U.S. Army Reserve construction supervisor for the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), gives his Soldiers instruction during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2454

In May, the Pittsburgh District also partnered with the 366th Engineer Company to install electrical upgrades at the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir, in Wayland, Ohio. A month later, it partnered with the 377th Eng. Co. for the new playground at Crooked Creek.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 366th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction) provide electrical upgrades to a maintenance facility at the Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir, in Wayland, Ohio, May 22, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Ashely Ritenour)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240522-A-TI382-1002

The Army Reserve Soldiers completed the playground in about 10 days, a project that would have taken the lake’s three-person maintenance crew about a month to complete.

The Soldiers benefit from this new authority by improving their skills on real-world projects with lasting value. In return, USACE benefits from the increased labor, which it does not have to fund. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements.

For years, state agencies benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but for the first time, congress passed law authorizing a partnership with reserve troops at the federal level.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Spc. Logan Miller, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, and 1st Lt. Evia Nelson, a platoon leader from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), review the plans during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-2077

Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill military training requirements. Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs.

USACE can accept services and supplies from military units without having to reimburse them, since they are already federally funded. In addition to the Army, USACE includes agreements with the Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, and the Air National Guard when federally activated.

The projects can range in size and value. Military units can agree to work on projects valued up to $1 million by getting agreement documents signed by a USACE district commander, which is typically a colonel. In some cases, reserve forces can work on projects worth more than $1 million if they sign a USCE agreement at a 2-star general officer level.

Approved training activities can include facility construction, road grading or resurfacing, environmental restoration, clearing fire lines, removing flood debris, aerial inspections, heavy equipment operation, demolition and other construction projects.

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
A U.S. Army Reserve Soldier from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), operates a skid steer during a playground construction project at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of the unit’s annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-1621

USACE can provide supervisors, equipment, vehicles and materials to complete the projects. In fact, the Crooked Creek office had purchased the playground materials several years ago but had never found the time to install it due to other maintenance priorities around the lake. The Soldiers also used the concrete mixer belonging to Crooked Creek because it was larger and more efficient than the one they owned.

In the end, the Soldiers can stand by a unique project that not only improved their skills, but also something they can be proud to show the community.

“I have tons of cousins and nieces and nephews,” Nelson said. “I plan on bringing them here and show them what we can do, and being able to let people enjoy your work really makes you feel good.”

A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans.
Army Reserve Soldiers flex their skills on federal engineering p
Spc. Tristan DiMarco, center, and fellow U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction), shovel out dirt from a hole to construct a playground at Crooked Creek Lake in Ford City, Pennsylvania, as part of their annual training June 12, 2024. A new authorization in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 grants permission to U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to work on projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of their official training plans. Soldiers can perform projects that alight with their military occupational specialty or unit mission tasks to fulfill their military training requirements. The Soldiers must perform work that benefits water resources development projects or programs. The Army Reserve Soldiers benefit from this new authority by putting their skills to work on real-world projects that serve their community. In return, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers benefits by receiving project support without having to pay for labor. The Soldier’s salary is covered by the Army Reserve as part of its annual budget to meet training requirements. For years, state agencies and organizations benefitted from similar partnerships with the U.S. Army National Guard, which is state-funded, but this is the first time congress passed law authorizing a partnership with the U.S. Army Reserve for federal projects. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)
Photo By: Michel Sauret
VIRIN: 240612-A-TI382-1594


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