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    Bray's Last Day: The final shift after 40 years

    Bray's Last Day: The final shift after 40 years

    Photo By Brannen Parrish | Johnny Bray received his retirement certificate from Col. Timothy Hudson, Tulsa...... read more read more



    Story by Brannen Parrish 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

    After 40 years working on and overseeing the maintenance at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers powerhouses and dams in the Tulsa District, Johnny Bray, the maintenance supervisor at Eufaula Powerhouse completed his final shift, Dec. 29.

    Bray’s career began December 13, 1982 when he entered the hydropower training program as a mechanic at the powerhouse at Webbers Falls Lock and Dam 16.

    Two years later Bray was assigned to Denison Dam, which impounds Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma and Texas border. After four years he returned “home” to the powerhouse at Eufaula Dam.

    “I spent four years total there at Denison and was fortunate enough to get transferred back to Eufaula. When I say ‘back’ it was back home for me. I live local here just a few miles from Eufaula Dam,” said Bray. “I never thought I would be able to work right here at home where I was raised so I’ve been really fortunate for my career to be able to work so close to home where I was raised and raise my family in the local school system where I went to school.”

    Bray celebrated his 40th year during a celebration at the Eufaula Powerhouse, Dec. 13, 2022 and was awarded the De Fleury Medal, the highest award a USACE civilian can receive.

    As the maintenance supervisor at Eufaula Powerhouse, Bray oversaw the operations and maintenance of the powerplant and the flood control structure at Eufaula. He oversaw a crew of up to six electricians and mechanics.

    Eufaula Dam has three hydropower units capable of generating 90 megawatts of power.

    Bray worked through many floods during his career with the first being the 1990 flood at Lake Eufaula.

    The 1990 Flood holds the record for the largest release from Eufaula Dam, at more than 240,000 cubic feet per second. Being inside a dam when it’s minimizing downstream flooding, is a different experience.

    “The first one in ’90 it was kind of all new to me. I had only been at this facility for a couple of years. So, it was a little nerve-wracking on my part, but I was a journeyman mechanic at the time, and I did my inspections as I was supposed to, and everything worked out and I don’t see any reason why it won’t work out fine in the future. These facilities are built rather well.”

    Johnny said technologically the job has changed significantly during his career. One example being the daily operations report produced by the powerhouse each day. The report provides a snapshot of the activities at the dams to decisionmakers and includes power generation, reservoir inflows and releases.

    “When I started that was all done with a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator. Now it’s pretty much an automated program and it’s just a few mouse clicks,” said Bray.

    Bray said he has had several people he’s looked to for guidance throughout his career, including retirees Bill Johnson and Ellis Williams.

    “I’ve had several in forty years that I really looked to for guidance and they were good about offering that guidance. They would go around to all eight power plants and do the testing. A lot of the troubleshooting issues that powerplant folks needed assistance with they would do that. They were rock solid.”

    When his shift ended, December 29, Johnny Bray took 40 years of service and experience with him. An era ended but his influence and impact will remain for those who worked for and learned from him, and Johnny Bray will be remembered by those who succeeded him in much the same way that Bill Johnson and Ellis Williams are remembered by Johnny Bray.

    “It’s bittersweet. You can’t do something for 40 years that you love to do and not be a little sad. But I know what’s on the other side. I’m excited to start a new chapter and spend more time with the grandkids, and my kids and the wife,” said Bray.

    To hear more of our interview with Johnny Bray, check out the Corpstruction Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and on DVIDS at



    Date Taken: 12.30.2022
    Date Posted: 12.30.2022 16:20
    Story ID: 436122
    Location: TULSA, OK, US 

    Web Views: 189
    Downloads: 0