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Posted 6/29/2018

Release no. 18-043

Chuck Walker

DeLapp says farewell to the Corps and the U.S. Army

Mobile, Alabama – As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District and the South Atlantic Division paid tribute to Col. James DeLapp during a retirement dinner, DeLapp took the opportunity to reflect on his 24 years of service to his nation.

DeLapp, a native of Barrington, Illinois, looked back on a career that saw him serve four USACE Districts, a former Senator and presidential candidate, and in support of peacekeeping and combat operations in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As he ends his career as the 52nd Mobile District commander, DeLapp said what he will miss the most is the camaraderie and friendships he has built over the years.

"I am going to miss all of the great people I’ve worked with and the tremendous civilian workforce I was able to spend so much time with," said DeLapp. "I had a very dynamic career, going to a lot of different places, with 14 changes of location and five combat tours. I had a lot of great friends and experiences and I have lost some friends in combat. I’m going to miss the time spent with them, good and bad. I think we’ve made things better for the world the last 24 years."

One of the highlights of DeLapp’s career was designing the prison cell that housed Saddam Hussein in Iraq as he awaited trial and eventual execution. DeLapp, who is an architect by trade, designed the facility from scratch.

"When we captured Saddam Hussein they asked me to design a place to house him," DeLapp said. "We built everything from scratch, it was a hallmark project."

DeLapp took over command of the Mobile District in 2016. He said when he first took over command of the district he didn’t appreciate how much work the District truly did. He said everyday was an adventure working in Mobile.

"I knew when I came Mobile was a large district, but I didn’t appreciate how broad and diverse the work was," DeLapp said. "They are truly the unsung heroes of the Corps. They do a lot of work and deliver a massive program. They don’t seek a lot of attention, but they deliver. It was an honor to command such great people and such a hard working team."

The highlight of DeLapp’s time in Mobile was the district’s response to helping the people of Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria last fall.

"Our response and recovery in Puerto Rico was a major effort for the district," DeLapp said. "I can’t say enough about the work our people did over there. It was monumental."

Brigadier General Diana M. Holland, commander of the USACE South Atlantic Division, said DeLapp’s service to the Corps and the Army will be truly missed.

"I want to extend my warmest regards to Col. James DeLapp and his children for their service, not only to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but to the U.S. Army. He has left a tremendous legacy to the Corps of Engineers and the Mobile District."

DeLapp, who has three children Gabe, Sophia and Luke, said he hopes to stay in southeastern U.S. during retirement, preferably Mobile.

"I love the gulf coast and I love the area," DeLapp said. "I see Mobile starting to take off. It is real exciting. There is lots of opportunity here and I want to be a part of that."

DeLapp says farewell to the Corps and the U.S. Army.PDF