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his endurance and therefore his efficiency in battle. The Quartermaster Corps is constantly working to cut down both the weight and the bulk of the processed foodstuffs that make up its operational rations.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS. These have an important bearing on a soldier's attitude toward food. They include climate, topography, and combat conditions. The sights, noises, and odors of a battlefield often affect a man's willingness, and even his ability to eat certain kinds of food. So do the stresses of fear, monotony, and fatigue. Laboratory experiments have been made by feeding animals under conditions of excitement and strain. Soldier volunteers are also tested to observe the effects of different kinds of foods on

their physical and mental processes, and to determine minimum required caloric intakes.

RADIATION PROGRAM. Since 1954 the Quartermaster Corps has been directing a research project to develop atomic radiation as a method of preserving foods. In this humanitarian application of nuclear energy the Corps is cooperating with the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Agriculture, other military agencies and industrial and educational institutions. Plans have been made for the construction of an Army Ionizing Radiation Center at the Sharpe General Depot, Lathrop, California. It is expected that this center, capable of irradiating 2,000 tons of food per month, will be in operation by the end of 1958.


more palatable and nutritious. The exact figures for the cost of the ration are as follows

Of particular interest to every taxpayer is the extent to which the marketing organization and research programs of the Quartermaster Corps have paid off in dollars and cents. From 1940 through 1948 the cost of the A ration more than doubled, following the general trend of food prices throughout the country. Since 1948, as we

all know, there has been a further large increase in civilian food prices; but the cost of the Army's A ration was actually reduced by about 3% in that period while at the same time it was made

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Chapter 12


Construction to meet Army and other national needs is the largest single mission of the Corps of Engineers. That agency is unique in that it handles, for the Government and people of the United States, not only military engineering tasks but an immense volume

of nonmilitary work associated with navigation, flood control, and other beneficial public activities. In addition the Corps has various duties other than construction, all related to its civil engineering background.



The construction power of the United States, as organized for warfare by the Corps of Engineers, has become weapon of outstanding importance. Twice in our generation it has played a vital role in warfare, and today it is a major element of national defense.

In World War II the ability of the engineers to build jungle airfields, smash away enemy defenses, breach minefields, bridge rivers, clear beaches, throw supply lifelines across mountains and swamps, and open the way for our troops wherever they needed to go led General MacArthur to call it "an engineers' war.” And five years later, when it seemed possible that the Korean campaign was to be the prelude to global warfare, the engineers' feat of building great air bases simultaneously in the Arctic wastes and on the African desert-and doing it in 90 days' construction time—was a major influence in deterring the aggressors.

Our opponents in the present Cold War have vastly more manpower than we, and are approaching parity with us in weapons and military production; but are still far ahead in the ability to mobilize quickly for construction of unprecedented range and scale. Since modern weapons cannot

get off the ground without equally advanced construction support, and since the strategic concepts of the nuclear age require greater engineering and construction efforts than ever before, our ability to maintain this lead is one of the vital elements in our national defense strength.

In the absence of war, the current military construction mission of the Corps of Engineers is to build the facilities of every kind, all over the world, required by the Army; most of those required by the Air Force; and some of those required by the Navy, the Atomic Energy Commission, and other agencies. Primarily this is done through American contractors. Should war break out, the Corps would also be responsible for combat engineering: that is, engineering in direct support of battle operations, and often a part of them.

CURRENT MILITARY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM. Since the start of the Korean War the Corps has been conducting the largest peacetime military construction program in history, to provide facilities needed by the Army and the Air Force under current strategic defense plans. It involves construction at some 700 bases or installations in the United States and in 22 friendly foreign


nations. The total estimated cost is around $10 billion, and work is proceeding at the rate of about $1.5 billion per year.

The program includes air fields, pipelines, industrial plants, highways, rail facilities, ports, fuel storage tanks, homes, churches, shops, theaters, hospitals, offices, and virtually every other type of facility used by modern society, in addition to purely military installations such as Nike batteries, barracks, and ammunition storage and loading depots. It is carried out in widely varying climates, terrain, and local conditions. Construction in the Arctic must take into account temperatures ranging downward to 70 degrees below zero, and special problems of snow, ice, and permanently frozen earth; at the other extreme, temperatures up to 140 degrees are encountered in Saudi Arabia.

COMBAT ENGINEER TASKS IN WAR. The job of the combat engineer is to keep friendly forces moving forward by overcoming natural or manmade obstacles; to assist them in defense by the construction of barriers and obstacles, and, if necessary, to join them, when the chips are down, in the time-honored role of riflemen. Versatility is the keynote of the work, with determination and courage as essential ingredients.

With their earthmoving equipment, the combat engineers build roads over

mountains or through jungles. The same equipment is used to construct emergency air strips or fortifications. To cross rivers and ravines the engineers furnish the necessary “piggy-backs" for other combat elements, in the form of assault boats, rafts, ferries, and bridges of all types--floating or fixed, standard or improvised. When minefields are encountered or have to be laid, engineer work parties supply skilled supervision and advice. If demolition or reduction of fortifications is needed-often under fire-the combat engineer is present with tools, explosives, skill, ingenuity, and courage. Engineer water purification sets and water distributors furnish potable water to the troops. Field mapping units provide the sheets and relief maps which are needed, by the hundreds of millions, in modern warfare. Engineer generators provide power for critical command, medical, and supply installations. Throughout the combat area, engineer reconnaisance elements, some airborne, are seeking and probing to determine what lies ahead.

Often the combat engineers must fight to secure or defend their work sites. And it is Army doctrine that, when the tactical situation requires it, they may be used as infantry in attack or defense. Divisional and other combat engineer units are armed and trained to that end.


The ability of the Corps of Engineers to handle its military tasks in peace and war is derived largely from its civil works program, under which it builds and operates a nationwide and constantly growing network of flood control, navigation, hydroelectric power, and other projects. Thanks to its peacetime activities, the Corps is a complex of organizational and technical sources. Its personnel include specialists in virtually all branches of engineering technology, some of them to be found nowhere else. It is intimately familiar with the construction industry, and thereby can draw on the total construction and engineering resources of the American people.

Initially the Corps became involved in civil works because, in the early days of our national history, its officers were the only reservoir of trained civil engineers available to the Federal Government. As the nation grew, the civil works responsibilities of the Corps grew with it. Also, of course, there grew up a highly competent body of professional engineers in civilian life; and for some years there was periodic pressure, from various sources, to transfer civil works from the Army to a Department of Public Works manned wholly by civilians. Repeatedly such proposals were defeated in Congress, thanks to the fact that a majority of its members had firsthand knowledge,


in their own States or Districts, of how the Corps handled its responsibility, and were far too well satisfied with its performance to desire a change.

In the past few years such agitation has died down. Recent history has demonstrated the enormous value to the nation of a peacetime organization of great numbers of highly-skilled specialists, which at the same time has a tradition of military service, and whose resources and personnel can be thrown at a moment's notice into national defense work. This happened in World War II, when the tasks of the Corps included the construction at top speed of immense industrial, transportation, and training facilities and the crash program for developing the atomic bomb under the “Manhattan District." The expanded organization which emerged from that war in turn made possible, a few years later, the military construction called for in Africa, Greenland, and elsewhere on a scale and under a timetable which even during World War II would have been considered impossible.

NATURE OF CIVIL WORKS FUNCTIONS. The Chief of Engineers is responsible for river and harbor (navigation) and flood control projects, including administration of all matters pertaining to investigations, authorizations, construction, regulation, and maintenance of navigation, flood control, multipurpose, and hydroelectric power projects; procurement, assignment, maintenance, and disposal of required plant and equipment; interpretation and application of laws relating to navigable waters in the United States and international boundary waters; issuance of permits for construction of bridges and other structures in navigable waters, removal of wrecks, and establishment of harbor lines; pollution abatement and issuance of regulations governing navigable streams; review of plans, specifications, reports, and estimates pertaining to river and harbor and flood-control projects; preparation and presentation of testimony before congressional committees in connection with omnibus and special bills; and collection of commercial statistics.


of Congress of 30 April 1824 authorized President Monroe "to cause the necessary surveys, plans, and estimates to be made of the routes of such roads and canals as he may deem of national importance in a commercial or military point of view, or necessary for the transportation of the public mail ..

.. the surveys, plans, and estimates for each, when completed, to be laid before the Congress.”

In the same year the Congress made its first appropriations for civil works$75,000 for the removal of sandbars and other obstructions to navigation in the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Harbor improvements were begun at Erie, Pa., and at Cleveland and Fairport Harbors, Ohio. The act committed rivers and harbors improvement to the Federal Government, and indicated that the Corps of Engineers was to execute and superintend the work. A "Board of Engineers for International Improvements," composed of Army engineers and civilians, was organized and continued in existence until 1832. Its reports laid the basis for the ultimate development of our national system of inland waterways and harbors.

NAVIGATION IMPROVEMENTS. The civil works activities of the Corps of Engineers associated with our waterways have evolved along two different but closely related lines: navigation and flood control. For most of our history the chief emphasis was on the former. The powers of the Federal Government in the field of interstate commerce, granted in the Constitution, led it at an early date to undertake the improvement of our ports and inland waterways. In the case of seaports or lake ports, this normally involves dredging channels to the required depths and widths, and maintaining them by periodic redredging. In the case of inland waterways, such as rivers or the connecting channels of the Great Lakes, one or another of four methods,

combination of them, may be used

(1) Dredging; sometimes used alone, sometimes in combination with other means.

(2) Regulation. By this method the river is so shaped as to cause it to erode its channel to the desired width and




depth and along the proper trace. The shaping is usually accomplished by a combination of dikes or spurs, built out into the river to narrow it and concentrate its flow, and protective surfacing (revetments) placed on banks against which the river impinges, to hold them in place. Dredging may be used to cut back a bank to the desired shape before revetting it, or to make a cutoff across a long curve.

(3) Canalization. This involves building dams, usually low ones, to convert the river into a series of pools. At each dam there is a lock, or sometimes two

more, through which navigation passes.

Some dams have movable features which can be raised in low water and lowered in high water.

(4) Equalization of Flow, by dams (usually high dams) on the river or its tributaries, which store a large amount of water at high stages, and release it at low stages to maintain navigable depths in the channel.

The best known examples of improvement by regulation are the 964-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi, and its extension for 762 miles up the Missouri (the latter not yet completed). The best known examples of canalization are the Ohio River (962 miles from the mouth to Pittsburgh, plus extensions up the Monongahela and Allegheny); the 663 mile channel of the upper Mississippi; and the Sault Ste. Marie ("Soo") locks giving access to Lake Superior. The Atlantic and Gulf Intercoastal Waterways are outstanding examples of improvement almost wholly by dredging.

FLOOD CONTROL. Federal action to control floods had its origin on the Mississippi.

Mississippi Flood Control. The rich soil of the lower Mississippi valley attracted settlers from earliest times, but for about two centuries its potentialities could be only partly realized because of periodic flooding. Flood control efforts date back to the 18th Century. By the 1840's agitation for Federal flood control became a major political issue, and led to the passage of several Federal-aid laws which, however, were ineffectual because of lack of coordination between State and local efforts. In 1879 the three-man Mississippi River

Commission was established as a coordinating body. With its chairman always an officer of the Corps of Engineers, this commission still has jurisdiction over the development of the alluvial valley. Decades of work revealed that the river could be controlled only through a unified effort embracing the entire basin. The Mississippi River and Tributaries Project of the Corps of Engineers was authorized by Congress on 15 May 1928 following a disastrous flood in 1927. By 1957 a system of levees, floodways, and other structures costing about $1,000,000,000 had been built below the confluence of the Ohio River. This system is capable of containing the greatest flood of record, but is only about two-thirds complete in terms of the "design flood” believed possible in the valley. With the flood menace largely eliminated, a remarkable expansion of agricultural and industrial development has taken place in the alluvial valley since the 1940's.

Sacramento River Flood Control. The Sacramento River in California, like the Mississippi, flows through a rich alluvial valley subject to periodic floods. This condition was made much worse by the fact that, in the years following the discovery of gold, large-scale hydraulic mining resulted in immense masses of debris being dumped into the river and its tributaries. As the valley began to develop and the population increased, there was a growing demand for a comprehensive Federal flood control project, and Congress eventually adopted one. It is based primarily on a combination of levees and floodways.

Comprehensive Flood Control. In 1936 the responsibility of the Corps of Engineers for flood control was made nationwide; and since that date Congress has progressively adopted a comprehensive system of Federally financed flood control projects. The execution of these projects now constitutes one of the Corps' largest and most complex tasks. Methods used may include stabilization of banks, levees, and floodways; dredging, straightening, and sometimes paving river channels; flood walls to protect areas of concentrated value, such as low-lying sections of cities; and dams and reservoirs to hold the flood waters until they can be released at a safe

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