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Lieutenant General Lewis A. Pick

Born in Brookneal, Virginia, November 18, 1890, Lewis Andrew Pick graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1914. During World War I he served with the 23rd Engineers in France. Pick received his Regular Army commission in the Corps of Engineers on July 1, 1920. He served in the Philippines from 1921 until 1923 and helped organize an engineer regiment composed of Filipino soldiers. He was District Engineer at New Orleans during the great 1927 Mississippi River floods, and he helped coordinate federal relief efforts. Pick was named Missouri River Division Engineer in 1942, and with W. Glenn Sloan of the Bureau of Reclamation he co-wrote the Pick-Sloan Plan for controlling the water resources of the Missouri River Basin.

He was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations in October 1943 and oversaw construction of the Ledo Road in India and Burma. The task for constructing the road was given to the engineering regiments of the US Army and the engineer put in charge was General Pick.

Lieutenant General Lewis A. Pick

 His driving force enabled the difficult task to be completed in 2½ years. His men nicknamed the road "Pick's Pike". The Ledo road was a road from Ledo in Assam through the mountains and jungles of Burma to the China Road. During WWII, the China road from Burma was closed, hence the Americans decided that a second road from Assam was required to ferry supplies to China.

After his return to the United States in 1945, he served again as Missouri River Division Engineer. In the wake of the Missouri River floods of 1943, Pick submitted a plan to Congress in August of that year that proposed the construction of five earthen dams across the main-stem of the Missouri in North and South Dakota.  Pick believed his dams would protect the lower valley from floods, secure the navigation channel from complete destruction by the Missouri’s high flows, and ensure Army control over the entire Missouri Valley through the Dakotas by acquiring an excessive “taking area” of land for storage space in the reservoirs. Pick’s plan recommended dams at Gavin’s Point, Fort Randall, Oahe, Oak Creek, and Garrison. Pick considered Garrison Dam necessary to hold back the floodwaters of the Yellowstone River. Since a large dam could not be built across the Lower Yellowstone, Garrison became the means of checking that river. Pick and the Army insisted Garrison be included in the Pick-Sloan Plan legislation of 1944. The Bureau of Reclamation and its Missouri River expert, Glenn Sloan, opposed the construction of Garrison. Sloan did not believe Garrison would provide enough benefits to justify its cost. He also thought the Missouri’s two annual floods could be stopped by a series of smaller dams along the river’s tributaries rather than a handful of massive dams and reservoirs at the main-stem. Sloan concluded that with Fort Peck’s storage already in place by 1940, the Missouri’s flooding could be brought to an end with only three additional main-stem dams rather than the Army’s five. Sloan’s fewer dam’s and reservoirs would have to be operated properly in order to guarantee flood protection for the lower valley, but he knew that could be done. In 1944, Sloan lost, Pick won, and the Army gained congressional authorization to construct Garrison Dam. Pick did not get his Oak Creek Dam near Mobridge, South Dakota. But in lieu of that structure, he and the Army did gain a higher Oahe Dam at Pierre and a power generating dam at Big Bend.

Pickstown, South Dakota and Pick City, North Dakota were named in honor of General Pick. Pick City lies about a mile west of Garrison and arose in the late 1940s during the dam’s construction and Pickstown rose from the prairies with the ground breaking of the Fort Randall Dam in July of 1946.  

On March 1, 1949, President Truman appointed him Chief of Engineers. Pick was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the Oak Leaf Cluster. General Pick died in 1956 in Washington, DC.

and is buried in Auburn Alabama.                                                                                          Source: wekipedia

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