Family members of Billy Manley pose in front of the newly christened drydock Manley at the Ensley Engineer Yard. (Photo by Vance Harris/Memphis Engineer District)

Memphis Engineer District Christens Drydock Manley

The Memphis Engineer District christened its newest drydock April 2 at the Ensley Engineer Yard.

The 1,000-ton-capacity drydock is 168 feet long with a 77-foot beam and a draft of 4.5 feet. It was constructed at Conrad Shipyard in Morgan City, La., and arrived at Ensley on December 15, 2023.

The new drydock is named Manley, in honor of Billy Manley, a former yards and docks chief for the Memphis before he died in 2020.

Before joining the Memphis District in 2014, Manley served in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years and the U.S. Army Reserves for another 27. He started as a supervisor at Ensley before his promotion to yards and docks chief in 2015.

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“It was an honor to have known Billy for the few years we spent at Ensley together,” Operations Division Chief Andrea Williams said. “I selected Billy as chief of yards and docks in 2014 because of his technical and supervisory acumen. In doing so, I gained a great work partner and friend.”

Manley was fun to work with, Williams said. “He made me buy a truckable towboat that we unofficially named the SS Manley because he would tool around in it while also supervising drydock operations and using it to push a single barge from one end of the stringout to the other.”

Williams learned of Manley’s passing while deployed in Afghanistan and remembers thinking about how his family, the Corps of Engineers and the Ensley Engineer Yard team had all suffered a significant loss that day.

“So, when I returned to Ensley and the opportunity to name our newest drydock presented itself, we all agreed unanimously that it should be the called Dry Dock Manley, in honor of our friend and co-worker, Mr. Billy Eugene Manley,” Williams said.

More than 80 people attended the christening, including several members of Manley’s family, his friends and district employees.

Manley’s wife, Teresa Manley, broke a bottle of champagne on the drydock to christen it. Memphis District Commander Col. Brian Sawser then directed the drydock into service to Dennis Lewis, the current chief of yards and docks.

Ensley Engineer Yard professionals use drydock structures approximately 310 days a year to repair and maintain marine vessels belonging to the Memphis District, its sister districts and partner agencies.