Beyond MLK DAY – Inspiring Conversations that Make a Difference

A POV article from Catherine Carroll, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Public Affairs Regional Director

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division
Published Jan. 16, 2023
Updated: Jan. 16, 2023
Official photo of Elaine Lawson, program and management analyst with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s Business and Integration Division.

Official photo of Elaine Lawson, program and management analyst with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s Business and Integration Division.

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division and its districts join the nation in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But the importance of this day and its impact on our lives and our organization were felt well before the holiday weekend began – through conversations that will make a difference well beyond our MLK Day celebrations.

I’m currently supporting the Transatlantic Expeditionary District team in Kuwait and have had the opportunity to get to know some amazing professionals over that last couple of weeks. As they shared their plans for the holiday weekend with me, and with one another, they also shared their thoughts, stories and feelings about what Dr. King represents to them in their lives.

While today’s holiday brings focus to Dr. King’s life and legacy, these meaningful conversations help deepen our understanding of one another, strengthen the connections between us and truly make King’s dream a reality.

Elaine Lawson, a program and management analyst with the Transatlantic Division’s Business and Integration Division, joined in on the conversations here at Camp Arifjan from the division’s headquarters in Winchester, Va., sharing via email how King’s life and words shape her life each and every day.

Lawson has long been a facilitator of meaningful conversations, not only for the current leadership, but for the next generation of USACE leaders as well. In her long-time role as the manager of the division’s Leadership Development Program, she routinely asks questions and starts conversations that inspire people to grow personally and professionally. But this time, as the division’s public affairs officer, I had the opportunity to ask Lawson a few questions. I hope you are as inspired by her responses as I am.

Carroll: What does MLK Day mean for you in your life?

Lawson: “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought long and hard, in peaceful ways, for justice and equality for all people, regardless of their cultural differences. It is important for me to continue to believe in and support what he preached and spoke of for so many years and through so many challenges. I was, and continue to be, inspired by his “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speeches. The words in those speeches resonated with me when I first heard them and still have the same effect on me today.”

Carroll: Why is it important to celebrate A DAY ON, NOT A DAY OFF?

Lawson: “Dr. King served as a true advocate for our civil rights, and he should be celebrated for his positive work that affected people from all walks of life. He did not take a “day off” from fighting for what he thought was right. I believe it is important to continue the work that Dr. King so humbly put into action. It is my duty to do my part – not depend on someone else – to help make his dream a reality. We, as a society have made strides in ensuring justice and equality are afforded all people, but we have a long way to go!”

Carroll: How can we continue Dr. King's message of inclusion and equality in our own lives?

Lawson: “I can continue Dr. King’s message of inclusion and equality by serving my community as an advocate for civil rights, involvement in education awareness programs, participating in social services sponsored events, supporting first responders and treating everyone with dignity and respect.”

Carroll: What is your favorite Dr. King quote?

Lawson: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

“So today, I hope everyone has an inspiring DAY ON and finds the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and remind ourselves – and each other – that freedom, equality and inclusion are true force multipliers and imperative to the strength of our nation.

“And as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday, let us continue to live up to the standard he set, ensure his legacy lives on and, as one USACE family, rise up to meet the challenges that remain.”


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division serves as USACE’s tip of the spear in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world, STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS, BUILDING CAPACITY, and ENHANCING SECURITY for our nation, allies, and partners. 

We deliver agile, responsive, and innovative, design, construction, engineering and contingency solutions in support of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and other global partners to advance national security interests.

Transatlantic Division News

  • April

    Expertise at the Front: How USACE Experience Powers U.S. Army Success

    In the vast, dynamic landscape of the U.S. Central Command’s Area of Responsibility, the success of the U.S. Army's mission is intricately linked to the infrastructure that supports it. For more than 70 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has played a crucial role in providing the critical engineering, design, and construction expertise that ensures operational readiness and resilience across the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Levant. The Transatlantic Expeditionary District, as USACE's only forward deployed district in support of contingency operations, continues this legacy by being the sharpest tip of the spear, strengthening partnerships, building capacity, and enhancing security for our nation, allies, and partners.
  • Empowering the Future: USACE Division CSM Visits U.S. Army Engineers in Kuwait

    In a significant event aimed at fostering professional growth among U.S. Army Engineer Regiment Soldiers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton D. Morehouse held an open forum discussion with active duty and reserve component engineer Soldiers deployed to Kuwait. The engagement offered a platform for non-commissioned officers to engage directly with one of USACE’s division level senior enlisted leaders, exploring the pivotal role of engineers in achieving Army objectives and the value of mentorship and professional development within the NCO ranks.
  • Building Resilience and Respect: USACE’s Role in Sustaining Military Capacity at Camp Buehring During Ramadan

    Strategic Infrastructure is crucial for sustaining military capability, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plays a vital role in ensuring its effectiveness. As a part of monthly rotational site visit engagements, U.S. Army Col. Mohammed Z. Rahman, USACE Transatlantic Expeditionary District commander, along with a team of district engineers and the district Safety chief, traveled to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, to review two key projects: the Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility and the Udairi Landing Zone Transition Repair projects. These engagements exemplify USACE's commitment to operational excellence and project oversight.
  • USACE Strengthens Partnership for Global Infrastructure in Kuwait

    In a significant meeting held on March 17, at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, U.S. Army Col. Mohammed Z. Rahman, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Expeditionary District commander, and Viet Nguyen, Expeditionary District deputy district engineer, engaged in strategic discussions with The U.S. Ambassador and the Economic Counselor from the American Embassy in Kuwait. The engagement centered around enhancing the role of USACE in the context of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, PGII, and its implications for U.S. and allied economic and national security interests.
  • March

    USACE Transatlantic Division employee embarks on Army Coaching Program journey

    A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division employee is undertaking an intense talent management program in order to help fellow employees in their careers; the first employee in the organization to do so.
  • February

    USACE Transatlantic Division: Setting Extraordinary Standards as ‘Partner of Choice’ in CENTCOM AOR

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division stands as a pivotal force in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. Since the 1950s, the Division has actively shaped the landscape of engineering, design, and construction across the Middle East. Transforming from its initial focus on basic military construction, the Division now leads sophisticated, large-scale infrastructure projects, demonstrating a deep commitment to building capacity and enhancing security in the region. By setting and consistently upholding extraordinary operational standards, it has established itself as the ‘partner of choice.’
  • January

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Commander Promoted to Brigadier General

    Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General during a ceremony here Jan. 16.
  • October

    On Solid Ground: Army Values are the Foundation of USACE Transatlantic Division’s Mission

    With a history of more than 70 years in the region, the Transatlantic Division oversees more than $5 billion in projects including military construction programs, force protection innovations, and security cooperation initiatives, strengthening Army readiness, enhancing vital infrastructure, and deepening global partnerships. Each action reinforces the Army's unwavering commitment to its service members and global partners.
  • USACE Innovation: The Key to 'Building Strong' in the CENTCOM AOR

    For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division, innovation is the essential energy that drives success. From the initial development phase of a project, through the design and construction, and well into the operational phase, innovation drives the relentless pursuit of excellence, supporting sustainable strategies and fostering the development of long-lasting, reliable solutions.
  • September

    USACE Transatlantic Division supports Typhoon Mawar disaster relief

    A staff member assigned to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division was activated and sent to Guam from June until July to assist FEMA, federal partners and territorial officials’ response to the typhoon which caused significant impacts to essential services throughout portions of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, including water, energy and transportation.