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USACE Vicksburg District Mat Sinking Unit revetment season begins

Posted on July 20, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District held a ship out ceremony at the Vicksburg Harbor, Monday, to commemorate the deployment of the Mat Sinking Unit (MSU) for its annual season of revetment.

Vicksburg District Commander Col. Christopher Klein and Mat Sinking Unit Chief Maurice Gilmore provided remarks which focused on safety, teamwork, and the importance of the revetment mission to our nation.

“Today is all about the crew and the sacrifices they make to carry the mission forward year after year,” said Col. Klein. “Each member plays a critical role in delivering safe, reliable navigation and flood risk management to the nation.”

The MSU places hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats, also known as revetment, along the Mississippi River to protect flood control works, prevent riverbank erosion and provide navigable waterways for commercial transportation. The unit’s work spans the Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts’ jurisdictions and more than 1,700 river miles.

“We call the Mat Sinking Unit the “plant” because of the massiveness of the operation,” said Gilmore. “It takes a team to ensure our galley is stocked, wire reels are delivered and fed on time, cranes are operational, tow vessels are pushing, surveys are confirmed, and supervisors are trained to lead. With everyone’s dedication, our mission will be successful!”

Carl Young, MSU winchman and associate minister of the Oasis of Love (Church of God in Christ) in Lake Village, Arkansas, blessed the fleet and asked for protection and safety for all crew members and vessels that conduct the hazardous work along the Mississippi River.

Unparalleled across the world, the MSU is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. During revetment season, the unit acts as a floating city, providing lodging and dining for over 300 crew members.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.


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