Staff Sgt. Kyla Stewart, a Soldier formerly working as a technical engineer with the 11th Engineer Battalion in Korea, has come on board with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Far East District.
“I had a conversation with my sergeant major and I said I’d really like to work for USACE and he mentioned that he knew a couple officers who have been on a temporary assignment here,” said Stewart. “So he spoke with Col. Schlosser, Far East District Commander, and set up an interview for me, and as luck would have it, here I am.”
Stewart is the first ever Soldier working in the geotechnical branch and is excited to soak up all the knowledge she can from her new coworkers.
“Everyone who I spoke with has encouraged me to go around, ask questions, learn as much as I can and I really appreciate that.”
Stewart has been forward deployed before to places like Guam and Micronesia assisting in the building of small schools and foundation work for hospitals. She said some of her prior units had a really good partnership program with USACE and this is what peaked her interest in the Corps.
“I don’t think I really understood what USACE did and what separated them from the branch of engineers in active duty, but I’ve learned a lot in the five weeks I’ve been here,” said Stewart. “I’m learning more about the organization every day.”
Stewart is primarily working in the construction materials testing laboratory and has already assisted in commercial lab inspections as well. She feels this job provides a great opportunity to learn much more about her profession.
“In this job I have so much flexibility where I can just walk up to another department and ask if they have a moment to show me what you are working on,” said Stewart. “So far I’ve conducted some tests in the field - learning the correct, exact, testing procedures. Being here and learning from the professionals to get the exact way to get the most accurate data has been great.”
Stewart plans to attain her project management professional (PMP) certification before her tour of duty concludes at the district and also said she would like to carry on working for the Corps after she leaves the Army. For now, she plans on just soaking up as much knowledge as possible from FED employees.
“From the very first week I’ve been here the staff have been giving me tasks that help the FED mission,” said Stewart. “They are showing me new things and making sure I understand the concepts. It’s been a great experience.”