USACE: Spotlight on Capt. Derek Thornton (USA)

Spotlight on Capt. Derek Thornton

It’s no secret that successful engineers often exhibit similar personality traits ranging from possessing strong problem solving skills to working well as a team, so it didn’t come as a surprise to Capt. Derek Thornton’s family when he decided to pursue a career as an engineer.

What they didn’t know was that he was determined to serve as an Army officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Now an operations manager with the district’s Navigation Branch, Thornton was a natural candidate to lead a project along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Thornton and his team are working to gather data that will assist in mapping the GIWW to ensure that dredging operations can be conducted safely.

I wanted to join the Corps my entire military career,” said Thornton. “I first learned about the Corps’ mission during my officer’s basic course and even before my commissioning I knew I wanted to be part of the Corps.”

With only 90 days on the job, Thornton says that he’s already enjoying the challenge of his new position.

There is a steep learning curve here,” said Thornton. “Before I came to Galveston I had little experience with maritime operations. However, the people here are really helping me understand the district’s mission and goals. Working in the Corps has surpassed my expectations.”

A native of Fort Benning, Ga., Thornton earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. While in school, he was recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as a Division II All-American Athlete in the indoor 4×400-meter relay in 2004. His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two oak leafs), the Army Commendation Medal (two oak leafs), the Army Achievement Medal and a French Commendation Medal.


Press Release, October 17, 2012