Our guest speaker for the January dinner meeting was LTC Alexander Samms. He has a an extensive biography which includes multiple overseas deployments and has received the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Meritorious Service Medal during his varied career. He is currently the Deputy Commander, Deputy District Engineer of the Norfolk District of the Army Corp of Engineers. LTC Samms’ presentation consisted of an overview of the responsibilities of the Norfolk District Navigation Program.
The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Navigation Mission is to provide safe, reliable and efficient waterborne transportation systems (channels, harbors and waterways) for movement of commerce, national security needs and recreation. The Norfolk operations branch territory includes Norfolk Harbor/Hampton Roads, five river basins and the eastern shore of Virginia. The five river basins are the Rappahannock, York, James, Elizabeth and the Chowan.
The Norfolk District also conducts dredging operations and has several current projects. These projects include dredging the Thimble Shoals Channel, Chincoteague Inlet, the James River, Norfolk Harbor and Rudee Inlet. The Norfolk District also has a Debris Mission to prevent obstructive deposits and to remove drift from federal channels. This is accomplished by daily patrols of the Port of Norfolk and Hampton Roads covering 75 square miles of waterway. Since January 2017 they have removed 177 tons of material. That is equivalent to 15 large garbage truck loads.
LTC Samms completed his presentation by answering questions from members on a variety of topics. He also left a Hazard to Navigation Hotline number, (757) 672-1835, for reporting hazards in federal navigation channels. This hotline is not for removing debris from private property or state regulated waterways but is only for hazards that impact federal navigation channels.