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Posted 7/28/2014

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By Ronnie Schelby
Albuquerque District Public Affairs Specialist


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- From June 23 through July 11, 2014, the Albuquerque District hosted Hunter Firebaugh, a cadet from West Point. Hunter Firebaugh is the son of Jeff Firebaugh, project manager, military construction. Jeff has worked at the Corps since 1992.

Hunter Firebaugh graduated from La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, N.M., in 2012, and went directly into West Point that same year.

He says what he really likes about West Point is the people. “You won’t meet any better people anywhere else,” he said.

However, a cadet’s freshman year can be difficult. “The first year students cannot be friends with any upper class cadets,” he said. “However, after your freshman year, you feel like you belong.”

According to Firebaugh, there is a lot of camaraderie at West Point. “Cooperate to Graduate” is kind of the motto of the school. There are 4,400 cadets at West Point, out of which 22 percent are women. Everyone marches to both breakfast and lunch together. When a former West Point graduate is killed, there is an announcement and a moment of silence is held for the fallen.

Hunter will be a junior when he returns to West Point this fall. He is majoring in Environmental Engineering. He is very active in sports. His junior year will mark the second time he will participate in the Sandhurst Competition at West Point. This highly strenuous competition tests a variety of military skills including rifle and pistol marksmanship; rock marching; ranger wall; and land navigation. He is looking forward to once again competing.

During his time here, Cadet Firebaugh spent time with many Corps employees, and at several project sites, in order to get an overall feel for the variety of jobs the Corps does.

While at the district, he visited many Corps project sites. He spent time at the Air Force Sustainment Center project, and learned about project management tools, contract modifications managing projects, and other project management tools. Firebaugh also had the opportunity to visit Santa Clara Pueblo, where the Corps has been assisting in flood protection measures to prevent severe flooding of the village. While at the Pueblo, Hunter learned about HESCO barriers, one of the options used by the Corps to help with flood protection. He also traveled to Cochiti Dam, with Justin Reale, toxicologist, Environmental Engineering Section. There, he and Reale retrieved sondes, a water quality device, from the dam.

Firebaugh says that eventually he would like to work for the Corps of Engineers. “I have really seen and experienced the many types of work and jobs that the Corps offers.” After graduation from West Point in 2016, he aspires to become a pilot; after that he hopes to work for the Corps.

air force cadet HESCO barriers Project Management Sandhurst Competition Santa Clara Pueblo U.S. Army West Point