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Corps of Engineers Assesses Generators in U.S. Virgin Islands

By Rebecca Nappi, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division

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ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands, Oct. 31, 2017 — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 249th Engineer Battalion and the Corps’ Tulsa District power team are working together to provide U.S. Virgin Island facility generator owners with assessments to guide and assist them with the future maintenance generators.

Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Hoover, a pre-installation inspection team member with the 249th Engineer Battalion, assesses a Cotton Valley Fire Department generator.
Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Hoover, a pre-installation inspection team member with the 249th Engineer Battalion, assesses a Cotton Valley Fire Department generator with a facility staff member in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Oct. 29, 2017. The 249th Engineer Battalion and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District power team are working together to complete more than 25 generator assessments for private facility generators. Army photo by Rebecca Nappi
Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Hoover, a pre-installation inspection team member with the 249th Engineer Battalion, assesses a Cotton Valley Fire Department generator. Assess Generators
Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Hoover, a pre-installation inspection team member with the 249th Engineer Battalion, assesses a Cotton Valley Fire Department generator with a facility staff member in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Oct. 29, 2017. The 249th Engineer Battalion and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District power team are working together to complete more than 25 generator assessments for private facility generators. Army photo by Rebecca Nappi

“This is going to help the people here by giving them a guide regarding how to provide power or fix their existing generators in the event there is a catastrophic failure,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer Derek Ganley, the 249th Engineer Battalion power systems technician.

The combined team plans to complete more than 25 generator assessments for private facility generators, including for Boy Scouts of America facilities, a community health center, the University of the Virgin Islands and a hospital.

The assessments provide the facility generator owners with a preemptive analysis for generator maintenance requirements and capabilities in the event that the owner does not have a contractor available to perform maintenance on their equipment.

“We were called upon to do assessments of generators due to our vast expertise of operating and maintaining generators,” Ganley said.

The Corps is helping U.S. Virgin Islanders by ensuring these private generators for public facilities will remain serviced and operational until permanent power can be restored throughout the islands.

Ready to Respond

The 249th Engineer Battalion is a versatile power-generation battalion assigned to the Corps that provides commercial-level power to military units and federal relief organizations during full-spectrum operations.

During emergency events, the 249th and one of the Corps’ seven established power teams serve as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s power engineers. Soldiers and power team personnel deploy to fill the power gap between the end of a storm event and the arrival of power and utility contractors, who install temporary FEMA generators to predetermined critical facilities.

When the 249th first deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands with the Corps’ Memphis District power team after Hurricane Irma hit the islands in late September, they immediately got to work providing temporary power to critical facilities utilizing FEMA generators.

“The prime power team was here to assess the power requirements of critical facilities in the Virgin Islands in order to provide them with proper generators to fulfill their power needs for life, health and safety in the territories,” Ganley said.

These Corps personnel are subject matter experts in temporary power and can provide training requirements as necessary, as well as provide information needed for tools or equipment, making these teams an excellent resource for states or territories with little resources or expertise post-storm events. 

“It’s truly been an honor for us to come to the Virgin Islands and be afforded the opportunity to help the people within this beautiful territory,” Ganley said.


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