Col. Michael S. Brooks assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District on July 16, 2015, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
Alaska District welcomes new commander
After three years as the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District, Col. Christopher Lestochi relinquished his duties to Col. Michael Brooks during a July 16 change of command ceremony. Brooks, a native of Alabama, became the 27th commander of the district during the event at the district’s headquarters. He is the former deputy chief and engineer planner for the Domestic Operations Division at U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1st Lt. Marcus Farris’ (first row, third from left), quality assurance representative in the USACE – Alaska District’s Construction Division, competed for the first time with the All-Army Triathlon team June 7 in the 2015 U.S. Armed Forces Championships hosted by the Leon’s World Fastest Triathlon at Hammond, Indiana. According to the race results, he finished 17th out of 40 male competitors from all four branches, including members from the Canadian military. Farris completed the Olympic standard triathlon distances of a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride and 10 km run just under two hours. He trailed the leader by nine minutes.
All-Army triathlete’s skills founded in preparation
Underneath his quiet and cool demeanor, 1st Lt. Marcus Farris is ready to be unleashed on race days. A disciplined athlete, he has trained for many hours to represent and compete as a member of the All-Army Triathlon team.
Jacob Kresel (right), senior park ranger and natural resource specialist, and Cole Van Beusekom (left), park ranger, are easy to recognize with their forest green uniforms, “Smokey bear” hats and Corps castle belt buckles. The opportunity to work at the Chena Project in North Pole is a fulfilling vocation for both.
Corps park rangers share passion for outdoors, flood mitigation
Much like the Chena River snaking through the heart of downtown Fairbanks, a passion for the outdoors flows through the veins of the park rangers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District’s Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project. The two are contributing members of a team overseeing 20,000 acres of multipurpose public land.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Milhorn, deputy commanding general-support for Joint Task Force 505 during Operation Sahyogi Haat and commanding general of the Pacific Ocean Division, visited the Corps-built water well located at the Nepal Armed Police Force Headquarters in Halchowk, Kathmandu. Milhorn observed that the well survived the earthquake with minor repairs and provided water for more than 5,000 displaced citizens. The district managed the $1.3 million installation of seven wells, which range from 500 feet to 1,000 feet deep. Each one is complete with more than 6,500 gallons of water storage capacity, filtration system and emergency generator. Located throughout Kathmandu, each well can provide potable water for up to 15,000 people following a disaster event.
Humanitarian assistance projects provide disaster relief in Nepal
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently completed two humanitarian assistance construction projects that are now providing critical support services to the population of Kathmandu, Nepal, in the wake of the deadly earthquakes that struck in April and May.

Alaska District Photos