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New Fleet Commemorates St. Paul District Employees

Head Steward Nancy Peck, widow of David R. Peck, with St. Paul District Engineer Col. Robert L. Ball on the deck of the Thompson during the ceremony at the end of May, where Col. Ball announced the names of the new vessels.  In the background is Jim Krumm, 1st Assistant Engineer.

Head Steward Nancy Peck, widow of David R. Peck, with St. Paul District Engineer Col. Robert L. Ball on the deck of the Thompson during the ceremony at the end of May, where Col. Ball announced the names of the new vessels. In the background is Jim Krumm, 1st Assistant Engineer.

The dredge is named for Bill Goetz, 1930 - 2002, who was chief of the St. Paul District Con-Ops Division from 1970 to his retirement in 1990.

The dredge is named for Bill Goetz, 1930 - 2002, who was chief of the St. Paul District Con-Ops Division from 1970 to his retirement in 1990.

Richard Leonard, 1914 - 2003 was chief of the St. Paul Engineering Division when he retired in 1972.  The Cranebarge 9801 has been renamed in his honor.

Richard Leonard, 1914 - 2003 was chief of the St. Paul Engineering Division when he retired in 1972. The Cranebarge 9801 has been renamed in his honor.

The new quarters barge is named for Harold E. Taggatz, 1939 - 1999, who was assistant cheif of the St. Paul District Con-Ops Division for the last 12 years of hiss career.  He retired in 1998.

The new quarters barge is named for Harold E. Taggatz, 1939 - 1999, who was assistant cheif of the St. Paul District Con-Ops Division for the last 12 years of hiss career. He retired in 1998.

A Union Army officer during the U.S. Civil War, Gouveneur Warren (1830 - 1882) went on the be the first District Engineer of the St. Paul District.  His was the vision that resulted in the closing dams on the Upper Mississippi River.  The new towboat is

A Union Army officer during the U.S. Civil War, Gouveneur Warren (1830 - 1882) went on the be the first District Engineer of the St. Paul District. His was the vision that resulted in the closing dams on the Upper Mississippi River. The new towboat is

David Peck, 1952 - 2001, was possibly the youngest master of the Dredge William A. Thompson, achieving that position at age 38.  His obituary stated:

David Peck, 1952 - 2001, was possibly the youngest master of the Dredge William A. Thompson, achieving that position at age 38. His obituary stated: "If you are in need of comfort or somthing to hold on to, you need look no further than the beautiful Mi

The Dredge Goetz is named for William L. Goetz, 1930 - 2002.

William L. "Bill" Goetz began working for the St. Paul District in 1960, and served a chief of Construction-Operations Division from 1970 to his retirement in 1990 - a time of unprecedented environmental awareness.

He guided the district's dredging operations and regulatory activities during this period of intense scrutiny from federal and state agencies and citizen groups, and made significant contributions to management of the Mississippi River.

He directed the construction of major flood control projects throughout the district. He was committed to equal opportunity employment, and promoted hiring and training women and minorities in non-traditional positions. He was named Civil Servant of the Year, received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and was inducted into the District Hall of Fame in 1991.

Mr. Goetz spent his career championing a reliable and efficient nine-foot channel system. His management style was to keep the mission and customer service foremost in his leadership. He had an intimate knowledge of the structures, channels and their operation and maintenance, and could communicate and appreciate the concerns of the navigation industry and recreational users. He developed a working relationship with the navigation industry at the local, regional and national level, fostering unparalleled communications with his customers.

As environmental awareness grew in the Upper Mississippi River in the early 1970's, Mr. Goetz pushed Corps division and headquarters staff to provide funds to evaluate the impacts of dredging on the environment. When the Great River Environmental Action Team was formed, he ensured that the district supported the effort, which is believed to be the first Corps project to establish a working partnership with natural resource agencies.

When confronted with suggestions by resource agencies to perform more dredging using expensive mechanical equipment, Mr. Goetz provided leadership for acquisition of a surplus dredge booster pump and additional floating pipeline, allowing the Dredge Thompson to transfer dredged material to environmentally acceptable locations farther from the dredge site. To this day, the St. Paul District is highly regarded with respect to its environmental ethics, largely as a result of Mr. Goetz's willingness to work for all interests on the river.

The Quartersbarge Taggatz is named for Harold E. Taggatz,
1939 - 1999. Mr. Taggatz began working for the St. Paul District in 1962, and retired in 1998. He was assistant chief of the Construction-Operations Division for the last 12 years of his career.

During his tenure, he managed each of the various branches, spending much of his time in positions closely related to the navigation mission. As co-chair of the interagency River Resources Forum from 1983 to 1997, he was instrumental in solidifying a strong, trusting relationship with Corps partner agencies on the Upper Mississippi River.

He was highly respected by other agency personnel for his leadership, integrity and commitment to accomplishing Corps objectives using a balanced, environmentally acceptable approach.

Mr. Taggatz earned recognition throughout the Corps for his participation on a number of committees and task forces. In 1996, he received the Hammer Award for his efforts as chair of the Corps National Task Force for Operations and Maintenance Plan of Improvement. He was named Civil Servant of the Year, and was inducted into the District Hall of Fame in 1998.

Mr. Taggatz worked closely with many of the employees working on the river, and was recognized as a fair and honest negotiator in improving their work conditions. He was always concerned about others and about accomplishing the district mission. Mr. Taggatz had an extreme amount of common sense and care for employees at all levels. He frequently fought hard to represent the district's field staff. He was recognized for his selfless service and his high standards of integrity.

An adept tactician, Mr. Taggatz managed the operations and maintenance budget, constantly striving for compromise between all operations and maintenance functions. He was a master at negotiation and mediation. He truly represented the Corps values of integrity, professionalism, quality and loyalty.

Cranebarge 9801 has been re-named the Cranebarge Leonard, after Richard W. Leonard, 1914 - 2003.

Richard W. (Si) Leonard began working for the Corps of Engineers in 1940 and retired in 1972.

His first position was in Texas on the Lake Texoma flood control project. In 1945, he transferred to the St. Paul District, where he worked until 1963, when he took a position at the North Pacific Division office in Portland, Oregon. In 1966, he returned to the St. Paul District as chief of the Engineering Division, which he held until he retired.

Mr. Leonard was responsible for the success of Operation Foresight during the 1969 flood emergency on three river basins. As flood emergency organization chief of staff, he supervised flood protection and emergency assistance to communities throughout the district.

National representatives of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Chief of Engineers called the speed and quality of the assistance "phenomenal" and "truly remarkable." He was also recognized by the State of Minnesota for his flood protection expertise, and assisted state personnel in developing their rules program.

As chief of the Engineering Division, he instituted a major reorganization that improved work coordination and expedited completion of complex engineering studies.
Mr. Leonard received the Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, and was elected to the District Hall of Fame.

The Towboat General Warren is named after Gouverneur K. Warren, 1830 - 1882.

Brevet Maj. Gen Gouverneur Kemble Warren was the St. Paul District's first district engineer.

He studied and worked on the Mississippi River from its headwaters to the delta. When Congress ordered the Corps of Engineers to undertake the first systematic project to improve navigation on the upper Mississippi River, Gen. Warren was sent to St. Paul, Minnesota to undertake the task. His arrival established the Corps as a permanent actor in managing and transforming the Upper Mississippi River.

A Civil War hero, Gen. Warren possessed a keen ability to read landscapes. At the Battle of Gettysburg, he recognized the Union Army's tenuous defense on a strategic hill called Little Round Top and diverted troops to the hill. He prevented the Confederate Army from outflanking Union troops, preserving the North's victory.

Through this success and his leadership during the next 26 months, Gen. Warren rose from a second lieutenant to brevet major general, and was chosen to command the Army's 5th Corps.

Gen. Warren graduated from West Point second in his class on July 1, 1850, as a topographical engineer. The Corps sent him to join then Captain Andrew A. Humphreys on the famous Mississippi Delta Survey.
Gen. Warren spent nearly two years studying the lower river's characteristics, providing data for a comprehensive hydrographical report published by Humphreys and Lt. Henry L. Abbot in 1861.

In 1853, Maj. Stephen H. Long directed him to undertake the third survey of the Des Moines and Rock Island Rapids. Published in 1854, Warren's thorough report surpassed previous studies. He also conducted three expeditions to Nebraska and the Dakotas to map them and locate the best sites for forts and the best routes for roads. From his records and those of other expeditions, Gen. Warren assembled the most complete and detailed map of the northern plains.

Gen. Warren initiated the first mapping projects for the Upper Mississippi main stem and its key tributaries. Between 1866 and 1869, he sketched 30 maps of the Upper Mississippi River. He acquired the first floating plant - a dredge and snagboat - for creating and maintaining the navigation channel, and began trying to establish a continuous four-foot channel at low water from St. Paul to St. Louis. He requested funding for the first wing dams and closing dams, anticipating two future projects (the 4 ½ and six-foot channels) for the Mississippi.

Gen. Warren first suggested a system of 41 reservoirs for the St. Croix, Chippewa, Wisconsin and Mississippi River basins to store and release water for navigation.

Finally, he recognized that only locks and dams would make the river between the mouth of the Minnesota and the St. Anthony Falls navigable. While he requested funding for the locks and dams, the system he envisioned would not be completed until 1963.

Gen. Warren additionally discovered and wrote about important geological events that had shaped the landscape of Minnesota. He speculated that a glacial river, draining the colossal Lake Agassiz, had sculpted the Minnesota River Valley and the Mississippi River Valley below the mouth of the Minnesota. In commemoration of this work, the glacial river that was the outlet for Glacial Lake Agassiz was named River Warren in 1883.

Crewboat David R. Peck was named for David R. Peck, 1952 - 2001.

David R. Peck began working for the St. Paul District in 1970. He was master of the Dredge William A. Thompson from 1990 until his death in 2001.

Mr. Peck started as a deckhand on the district's mechanical dredge Hauser, dredging and maintaining the Upper Mississippi River nine-foot navigation channel. After several years, he transferred to the Thompson, where he became an engineer equipment operator, and soon advanced to the position of Coast Guard licensed tender boat operator. During the non-navigation season, he worked for the district's maintenance and repair unit, performing lock rehabilitation and other preventive maintenance work. In this capacity, he quickly advanced to the position of sandblasting and painting leader, performing this function for several winters at the Fountain City Service Base.

After several years as a boat operator on the Thompson, Mr. Peck advanced to the position of leverman, where he expanded his interest in the overall operation and management of the dredge. He also began to pilot the dredge (which is self-propelled) between locations.

In 1990, at the age of 38, Mr. Peck became possibly the youngest master in the history of the Dredge Thompson.
Mr. Peck was an extraordinarily capable operator of heavy equipment. Within hours, he could master bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, tugboats, dredge operations and piloting the dredge itself. When selected as master of the Thompson, Mr. Peck proved equally capable of adapting to the extensive administrative duties required of the position.

Throughout his career, Mr. Peck was one of the most likeable captains in the history of the Thompson. He gained the respect of his crew by never putting himself above his co-workers. Whether employed as a deckhand or as the dredge captain, Mr. Peck did whatever was necessary to keep the dredge operating, from carrying shore pipe to shoveling sand.

His obituary noted "If you are in need of comfort or something to hold on to, you need look no further than the beautiful Mississippi river, for that is where his spirit will live on forever."

A quote from Mark Twain is also included: "A true pilot cares nothing about anything on this earth but the river, and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of kings."

Article and illustrations courtesy of the St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers.

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