Thursday, March 22, 2018

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71)

Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kyle Steckler
U.S. Navy           

180227-N-RG482-445 BLACK SEA (Feb. 27, 2018) Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Apprentice Aaron Reynolds, left, and Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Apprentice Matthew Camp participate in a flight quarters drill aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) in the Black Sea, Feb. 27, 2018. Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its sixth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kyle Steckler/Released)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nimitz fire drill walkthrough

Nimitz fire drill walkthrough

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher R Jahnke 
USS Nimitz (CVN 68)  

NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. (March 16, 2018) Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Hedderman from Oak Harbor, Wash., and Capt. Shane Finch, Navy Region Northwest Fire Department, walk through the plans with federal fire department firefighters and Nimitz Sailors for a drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), March 16, 2018. Nimitz is conducting a docking planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive scheduled maintenance and upgrades. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nashville District hosts ‘First Responders Day’ at Old Hickory Dam

Nashville District hosts ‘First Responders Day’ at Old Hickory Dam
Jerry Breznican (Second from Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Emergency Management chief, briefs first responders in front of an Emergency Command and Control Vehicle during First Responders Day at Old Hickory Dam in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2018. (USACE photo by Leon Roberts)
Story by Leon Roberts
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District 

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2018) – What would happen if a towboat and barge were commandeered and its hijackers threatened public safety while inside a Corps of Engineers navigation lock? First responders wrestled with this potential scenario during a tabletop exercise at Old Hickory Dam today.

Federal, state and local officials weighed possible strategies and tactics and discussed the resources required to respond to such a nefarious event during “First Responders Day” at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District project located on the Cumberland River a short distance upstream of Music City.

Patrick Sheehan, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency director, said he valued the opportunity to see the impressive infrastructure and to interact with Corps employees, which made the tabletop exercise even more real and resulted in more effective decision making.

“To be able to see it (the dam) and be able to have the right partners around to talk through how we might respond to any number of crises that happen here, you don’t get that kind of orientation by sitting around,” Sheehan said. “It’s impressive to be able to see the moving parts and how things connect to the electrical grid and support the waterway.”

Officials from the Nashville District, U.S. Coast Guard, Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee National Guard, Hendersonville Police Department and Metro Nashville Police Department participated.

Prior to the tabletop exercise, first responders were familiarized with the facilities at Old Hickory Dam, which included a tour of the dam, navigation lock, and hydropower plant. Corps officials also provided briefings on emergency management, safety and security, and even gave a tour of an emergency command and control vehicle.

Tony Bivens, Nashville District’s Middle Tennessee area manager, explained how Old Hickory Dam, a run of the river project at Cumberland River mile 216.2, delivers limited flood risk reduction, but does provide great value with hydropower generation, and greatly supports the region with navigation and recreation benefits.

Because of the lock’s involvement with the exercise scenario, Bivens pointed out that the navigation lock is 84-feet wide and 397-feet long, and that the lock is operated by filling and emptying the chamber.
“We not only maintain and operate these lock structures, but we also maintain a nine-foot navigation channel throughout the Cumberland River,” Bivens said.

Throughout the exercise, the first responders detailed a lot of “what ifs” and discussed how the different agencies would engage the situation and communicate internally and externally. They shared how their respective organizations would provide support at different points of the timeline from the initial response to the resolution.

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, said “First Responders Day” allowed everyone to see the project, build relationships and cultivate an understanding of each other before something bad happens. He encouraged everyone to provide feedback to make future exercises more effective and useful and thanked everyone for their willingness to work together to be prepared.

“It was great to have such a diverse group out here helping us understand the challenges that we would potentially face in the event a worst-case scenario did occur,” Jones said. “This was developed to continue to build our relationships and increase our understanding across multi-agencies so we could be a cohesive team in the event of an incident and unified response.”

(The public can obtain news, updates, and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at The public can also follow Old Hickory Lake on Facebook at