USACE Division CSM Visits Buffalo District, Recognizes Service

The Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was visited by Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton Morehouse, CSM for USACE and the Transatlantic Division, where along with touring facilities and project sites, he made a point to connect with the people delivering the mission.

Taking time to meet with people from across the district, learning about what they do and the projects they work on, Morehouse said it was “very insightful.”

“I left with an amazing appreciation for what the Buffalo District does for the USACE enterprise and the American people,” said Morehouse.

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The two day visit saw Morehouse tour the downtown Buffalo District headquarters, Black Rock Lock, Mount Morris Dam, and the VA Canandaigua Medical Facility where he got to see first-hand how the people who work these projects are supporting the Nation by delivering the mission.

World War II veterans – Gene Gerrard, who served in the Coast Guard from 1942-1945; Bob Persichitti, who served in the Navy from 1942-1945; and Walter Jastrab, who served in the Army Air Corps from 1943-1946, at the Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Canandaigua, New York, March 26, 2024. USACE PHOTO BY RYAN CAMPBELL

“All the teams at each location were very professional and hard workers who love what they do,” he said.

One of the district’s biggest projects – the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, Niagara Falls Storage Site, was of great interest to CSM Morehouse.

The site contains remnants of the Manhattan Project and USACE is currently in the process of remediating the site. Over $1 billion is projected to be spent on the former TNT plant in Niagara Falls and will need a dedicated staff of professionals to ensure the work is completed in the safest manner possible.

“Seeing things like the FUSRAP sites and what that entails was mind blowing,” said Morehouse.

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Equally impressive, and important for the care of our Nation’s veterans, is the joint Buffalo and Louisville district delivery of over $500 million renovations of the Veteran Administration Canandaigua Medical Facility. During Morehouse’s visit he had the extraordinary opportunity to recognizing three World War II veterans.

All over 100 years of age, each of the service members stories gave credence to why the USACE staff work day in and day out to deliver the project.

USACE PHOTO BY RYAN CAMPBELL

Walter “Jazzy” Jastrab for his service in the Army Air Corps flying B17 bombers from 1943 to 1946; Robert “Bob” Persichitti for his service in Navy as a radio operator on a liberty ship based in Korea from 1942 to 1945; and Eugene “Gene” Gerrard for his service in Coast Guard as a quartermaster in the pacific from 1942 to 1945.

“VA would like to thank CSM Morehouse, and those who coordinated his visit, for the meaningful time spent our three veteran centenarians, recognized for their distinguished service to our country,” said Regina Deck, VA Canandaigua public affairs.

“This allowed the VA staff the honor of coordinating a first time gathering of the three, all turning 102 years young,” she continued. “With their invitation to share time together, these veterans were able to share their stories and also thank CSM Morehouse for his continued service.”

Morehouse presented a certificate to each veteran on behalf of USACE, praising them for their service to their country and their communities.

“It was truly an honor to be able to recognize those awesome vets,” he said. “I was literally in then presence of living history.”

After sharing stories and laughs with each other and those who gathered, the veterans saw Morehouse off with a greater appreciation for the services the facility offers.

“God bless you and your family,” said Gerrard.

USACE PHOTO BY RYAN CAMPBELL

With a better idea for the benefits the VA provides the tour continued with a look at how the facility is expanding to enhance the lives of those under the care of the VA. New living spaces are being built to increase the independence of patients, all new recreation and eating areas are designed to offer a high quality of life and keep patients engaged, and the infrastructure to make this possible has already been completed.

Morehouse told the construction staff that is incredible what lengths they were going to so that any veteran living there could have the best life possible.

Recognizing that the work USACE is completing is comforting for veterans to know that if they ever need to be under the care of the VA, that they will be able to live a dignified life and have all the amenities of home.

“Words can’t express how thankful I am for what everyone does across the projects that Buffalo District supports,” said Morehouse. “The work done each and every day is delivering value to the nation and ensuring the Corps of Engineers continues to deliver engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges.”

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