Cadet Ryan Bunn, entering his senior year at Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington) in fall 2014 pursuing a degree in engineering, flew across the U.S. in July 2014 to serve an internship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, through the university’s Bulldog Battalion Reserve Officers Training Corps. Prior to interning, he completed the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where all Army ROTC Cadets are evaluated and trained between their junior and senior years of college.
AN UNEXPECTED ASSIGNMENT
Through Cadet Troop Leader Training, a voluntary program, Bunn requested placement at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington, several hours’ drive from his hometown of Wilsonville, Oregon. Expecting assignment to an active duty Army Troop unit, he was surprised to learn of his assignment to the Army Corps of Engineers nearly 3,000 miles away. Surprise quickly gave way to a strong sense of accomplishment: upon completion, Bunn said he was very happy with being placed at New York District and with temporary duty in New York City.
Bunn’s experience included visiting project sites in New York and New Jersey, including beach replenishment at coastal storm risk management work along the shore and rock blasting for a new barracks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sponsored by Lt. Col. Scott Figlioli, he shadowed District leadership ─ Commander Col. Paul Owen and Deputy District Commander Lt. Col. John Knight ─ at the District’s Manhattan headquarters learning about their work and District operations. Bunn interacted with many employees (engineers and project managers in particular), and was involved with a number of divisions and offices.
Discussing his experiences, Bunn said he “got a really good impression of the Corps of Engineers,” noting the District’s important missions and complex civil works projects. One of those projects is a FUSRAP site (Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program) in Maywood, New Jersey, where contaminated soil is being remediated. After visiting there, he gave a presentation to other cadets interning with the District and District leaders.
IMPRESSED WITH PROJECTS
Bunn was impressed with the diversity of the District’s work, noting the Harbor Deepening Program dredging New York Harbor to accommodate larger ships, and the Forward Engineering Support Team-Advance (FEST-A), comprised of staff with varied engineering backgrounds providing planning/design support and infrastructure assessment. He also spoke about technology, noting a sophisticated computer program incorporating many aspects of a project into a unified whole.
When asked about positive aspects of ROTC, he mentioned college costs paid for and “tons of opportunities,” in terms of exciting possibilities. After Bunn completes ROTC, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant. His goal is to be selected for the engineering branch, continuing his pursuit of a career in the U.S. Army.