‘Go Army, Beat Navy’: A Time-honored Rivalry Transformed into Integrated Partnership in Bahrain

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division
Published Sept. 16, 2023
Updated: Sept. 11, 2023
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, discuss engineering updates during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, discuss engineering updates during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, observe safety precautions during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, observe safety precautions during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office personnel provides updates on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office personnel provides updates on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view ongoing construction on base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view ongoing construction on base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel point out engineering updates to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel point out engineering updates to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view the current progress on base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view the current progress on base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view the current progress on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view the current progress on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office personnel explain the current progress on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office personnel explain the current progress on a base infrastructure project supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain to U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Navy Capt. Zachariah D. Aperauch, Commanding Officer of NSA Bahrain, stands for a photo with U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, prior to a meeting to discuss ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Navy Capt. Zachariah D. Aperauch, Commanding Officer of NSA Bahrain, stands for a photo with U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, prior to a meeting to discuss ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Navy Capt. Zachariah D. Aperauch, Commanding Officer of NSA Bahrain, shakes hands with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.
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U.S. Navy Capt. Zachariah D. Aperauch, Commanding Officer of NSA Bahrain, shakes hands with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel during a site visit to view ongoing base infrastructure projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, along with U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Division personnel stand for a photo in front on the newly installed Area Office sign on Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, along with U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, and key Division personnel stand for a photo in front on the newly installed Area Office sign on Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view ongoing and past construction projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division leadership and key Transatlantic Middle East District Bahrain Area Office personnel, view ongoing and past construction projects supporting U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Sept. 11, 2023.

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN, Bahrain – From the spirited chants of 'Go Army, Beat Navy' on football fields to the synergistic teamwork in the sands of Bahrain, the rivalry between the Army and Navy takes on a new dimension—collaboration for a common mission. At the heart of this mission are dedicated professionals reaping both career and personal rewards from serving in one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' most dynamic locations.

When the Army faces off against the Navy on the football field, the competition is fierce, the rivalry time-honored. Yet, thousands of miles away in Bahrain, members of the Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command set aside inter-service rivalries to partner on vital projects for the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. But the collaboration isn’t just about projects; it's also about people. For professionals considering a career with the Army Corps of Engineers, Bahrain offers a compelling package: challenging work that makes a real-world impact, valuable experience in a strategic region, and a unique chance to be part of a team that's defining what Army-Navy teamwork can accomplish.

In a series of key leader engagements, U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, visited Bahrain on Sept. 11, to fortify the already strong inter-service partnerships with the Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

Naval Forces Central Command is one of the U.S. Navy's regional commands and is responsible for naval operations in the Middle East and parts of South Asia. They are the naval component of CENTCOM, which oversees U.S. military operations across 20 nations in the aforementioned regions. Their area of responsibility is strategically critical and includes some of the world's most important maritime chokepoints, such as the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal.

Headquartered in Bahrain, NAVCENT plays a pivotal role in a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, anti-piracy efforts, and partnerships with regional navies to ensure freedom of navigation in international waters. Given the geopolitical complexities of the region, which include ongoing conflicts, regional rivalries, and significant U.S. national security interests, their role is often multifaceted.

They coordinate with other U.S. military branches, allied nations, and regional partners to achieve shared objectives. This can range from direct military intervention to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. They also work closely with other U.S. military services, like the Army, through collaborations like the one with the Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division to achieve its goals in the region.

Hannan initiated his series of visits by meeting with the Transatlantic Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office personnel. The discussions focused on ongoing and future initiatives aimed at enhancing the operational capabilities of both the Army and Navy in the region.

Building on Hannan's focus on inter-service cooperation, Jeffrey Pohlig, Bahrain Area Office resident engineer, elaborated on the specific infrastructure projects that exemplify the Army-Navy partnership in Bahrain.

“Right now, we are working on two base infrastructure projects,” Pohlig explained. “One provides additional electrical capacity to the base, as well as resiliency and redundancy within their electrical grid. The other project provides hotel stations for ships and all the infrastructure and utilities needed for telecoms, electricity, water, sewage, as well as waste oil. These significant infrastructure projects not only enhance the Navy's operational capabilities here but also offer considerable cost savings.”

Accompanied by Pohlig and key Middle East District personnel, Hannan toured the ongoing projects that serve as linchpins for the collaboration between USACE, NAVCENT, and NSA Bahrain.

"These projects are pivotal in elevating both the strategic interests and security architecture in the region, serving as a testament to effective Army-Navy cooperation," said Hannan.

In separate meetings with U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and U.S. Navy Capt. Zachariah D. Aperauch, Commanding Officer of NSA Bahrain, Hannan discussed the current state and future trajectory of projects aimed at supporting naval operations and regional stability.

These strategic engagements underscored the collaborative energy and shared focus of the Army and Navy in Bahrain.

Echoing the sentiment of effective collaboration between the Army and Navy, Pohlig delved into the specific factors that have made the partnership so successful in Bahrain.

"The Navy has been great. We have built some strong relationships and partnerships,” Pohlig stated. “And we have great contractors here in Bahrain, so we have been very successful in all of our projects. "The majority of our projects in Bahrain, many of which were completed before my arrival, consistently meet deadlines, stay within budget, and prioritize safety. The Navy has recognized the expertise of USACE, allowing us a significant degree of autonomy in our operations. This trust has been built over the years, confirming our capability and success in what we do."

Discussing the challenges of adaptability and agility, especially in extreme weather conditions, Pohlig added, "In these environments, it's really important for our staff to be flexible, not only because of weather—with temperatures reaching extremes in the summer—but also because we are working night shifts, weekends, and long hours. Flexibility is really important, not just on a day-to-day basis but also for longer terms as we flex our staff to other Middle East District offices to help support those that need more resources."

Echoing Pohlig’s sentiments on the importance of adaptability, VADM Cooper commended the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bahrain Area Office personnel, saying, "Keep up the great work!"

Hannan underscored the broader strategic context, stating, "The strong alliance between the Army Corps of Engineers and NAVCENT as a cornerstone for effective military cooperation throughout the CENTCOM AOR. As a crucial hub for naval operations, Bahrain has become an integral part of robust collaborations with CENTCOM component commands. These engagements provide an invaluable opportunity to enhance regional security and develop critical infrastructure."

Pohlig provided insight into his own career journey with USACE. "I started out with USACE in 2009 as a GS-5 with the Savannah District as a materials testing specialist. I then transitioned to construction in the Jacksonville District, working in Puerto Rico and South Florida. After various roles, I accepted an area engineer position here in Bahrain."

"The work here is probably the most interesting work that I've done,” Pohlig said. “The variety is greater than in other locations. I work on everything from munitions storage facilities to runways, aprons, hangars, military construction, and air traffic control towers. It’s also rewarding working with the various installations, supporting the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, and our host nations."

"I enjoy working overseas with the Middle East District,” Pohlig continued. “I would recommend it to anyone looking for a professionally and personally rewarding experience. It's a great place to advance your career and there are lots of opportunities and job openings. The work here is challenging, diverse, and complex. And it looks great on your resume. You're also only a short distance from Asia and Europe and can visit those places pretty cheaply. My wife and I just got back from Malaysia and Vietnam, and next, we are going to Barcelona. The Middle East District’s Bahrain Area Office is a just a cool place to be in the world."


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

  • 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.
  • ‘Go Army, Beat Navy’: A Time-honored Rivalry Transformed into Integrated Partnership in Bahrain

    In a series of key leader engagements, U.S. Army Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, visited Bahrain on Sept. 11, to fortify the already strong inter-service partnerships with the Naval Forces Central Command and Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
  • August

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division participates in Eagle Resolve 2023

    Two staff members assigned U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division traveled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 21- 25, 2023 to participate in Eagle Resolve 2023, a Combined Joint All-Domain exercise which improves interoperability on land, in the air, at sea, in space, and in cyberspace with the U.S. military and partner nations, enhances the ability to respond to contingencies, and underscores USCENTCOM's commitment to the Middle East.
  • June

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division welcomes individual mobilization augmentees for annual training

    Soldiers arrived here this month to participate in a variety of training and readiness events as part of their duties as individual mobilization augmentees assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division.
  • Being All We Can Be – The Transatlantic Division’s 70+ year legacy remains an integral part of the U.S. Army's enduring story

    As the nation commemorates the U.S. Army's 248th birthday on June 14th, the Army Corps of Engineers stands as a strong pillar of support, reaffirming its indispensable role in fortifying the Army's mission. With a rich and storied history dating back to the Revolutionary War, the Army Corps of Engineers has steadfastly provided a strong foundation, showcasing its significance in diverse operations, infrastructure development, and disaster response efforts. The Army's enduring motto, "Be all you can be," resonates deeply with the Army Corps of Engineers and our collective commitment to Building Strong as we march forward to the shout of “Essayons! (Let us try).
  • Safety at the Tip of the Spear – USACE Transatlantic Division highlights Safety program across the CENTCOM AOR

    The Transatlantic Division serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ tip of the spear in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world. Ensuring that building strong is synonymous with building safely, the Transatlantic Division’s Safety Office maintains an unwavering dedication to the well-being of the service members and civilians who execute the nearly $5 billion dollar program in support of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Forces Command and other global partners across the Middle East and Central Asia. The CENTCOM AOR presents unique and varied safety challenges, from diverse environments like deserts, seaports, and urban areas, to wide ranging cultural considerations and diversity of languages, as well as security considerations surrounding ongoing military operations. The Transatlantic Division and its Districts overcomes all of this and continues to set the standard for Safety programs in the region.
  • May

    USACE Transatlantic Division Reinforces Commitment to CENTCOM State Partnership Program at Adjutant General Conference

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division made a significant impact at the U.S. Central Command's State Partnership Program Adjutant General Conference, held at the CENTCOM Headquarters, May 4-5, 2023. Scott Cilley, the Transatlantic Division’s Plans and Operations chief, represented the division at the conference, which convened Adjutant Generals from Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, along with senior CENTCOM officials and representatives from U.S. Army Central, U.S. Air Forces Central, U.S. Special Operations Command Central, U.S. Space Force Central, and the U.S. National Guard Bureau.