Col. Brandt shares inside look of Elk River Dam

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Brandt
  • AEDC

Col. Michael Brandt, Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Arnold Engineering Development Complex commander, on Dec. 3 toured the Elk River Dam that forms Woods Reservoir at Arnold Air Force Base to get a closer look at ongoing maintenance work.

Brandt supplied the following commentary following his tour to highlight the importance of the Elk River Dam to the AEDC mission and to shine a spotlight on those in the Civil Engineering Branch who work to maintain the structure.

Did you know that our Elk River Dam is the largest dam in the Air Force’s inventory? This is a fun fact I learned while reviewing the contract work with Mr. Josh Cooke, AEDC Civil Engineer.

December is the best time to inspect and repair the dam because the federally endangered Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens) that “hangs out” migrates from the dam in November, typically returning in late spring.

Built in 1950, the dam is just under 3,000 feet long and retains 26 billion gallons of water on a 3,980-acre reservoir. This water is processed and filtered to support AEDC ground aerospace test missions for simulating speed, temperature, pressure and other parameters for flight conditions from sea level to an altitude of 300 miles and from subsonic velocities to Mach 20.

Mission and recreation is compatible at Arnold. Another side benefit of the reservoir is it provides a fantastic recreational area enjoyed by active-duty military, retired military, civilians and our neighbors. The lake is the host to numerous activities and organizations, including a sailing club, skiing club and Boy Scout camp, not to mention a haven for fishermen. I have heard it is home to some of the best crappie in Tennessee!

In addition, the Wingo Inn, FamCamp and Crockett Cove provide a great opportunity for eligible personnel to stay on the lake and enjoy some downtime with family and friends.

A huge thank you goes out to all our past and present civil engineers! Your work ensures our mission continues for decades!