BG Goetz Assumes Command of USACE Pacific Ocean Division, Bids Aloha to BG Gibbs

Brig. Gen. Joseph C. “Clete” Goetz II became the 35th commanding general and division engineer of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division in a June 13 ceremony at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii.

He succeeds Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, who will become the Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations in Washington DC.

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The POD is the largest area of responsibility within the Corps of Engineers, related Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general and chief engineer. It consists of four districts and a team who manage an $11 billion program in Alaska, Honolulu, Japan and Korea.

“The bar has been set high, but you’re the right person, at the right time, to lead the POD team to even greater successes,” said Spellmon. “You have the experience and vision to continue propelling this high-performing team into the future.”

Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division, symbolically relinquishes command
Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, outgoing Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division, symbolically relinquishes command to Brig. Gen. Joseph C. “Clete” Goetz II by passing the unit colors to Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general and chief of engineers, in a June 13 ceremony at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii. USACE PHOTO BY CORTLAND HENDERSON

Goetz spent the past two years serving as the 100th Commandant of the United States Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he oversaw the professional military education and training courses for Army engineers.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic to be here,” Goetz shared during the ceremony. “A good engineer wants to be where the challenges are … and solve the nation’s toughest problems.”

Goetz added he is eager to work alongside the POD and U.S. Army Pacific team.

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“I’ll give you everything that I’ve got,” said Goetz. “I’m tremendously excited to work with you, our engineers. Be all that you can be!”

Embracing the Army’s “Be All You Can Be” slogan is something Gibbs witnessed firsthand.

“Our mission here is important,” said Goetz. “Leaders must lead with an understanding of the culture and the people as well as the impacts of our actions.”

Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division, symbolically assumes command
Brig. Gen. Joseph C. “Clete” Goetz II, incoming Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division, symbolically assumes command by receiving the unit colors from Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general and chief of engineers, in a June 13 ceremony at Ft. Shafter, Hawaii. USACE PHOTO BY CORTLAND HENDERSON

Gibbs started his tenure with the POD during the 2020 COVID pandemic and oversaw its response to catastrophic events like Typhoon Mawar and the Hawaii Wildfires on Maui. He also led the effort to build the Moose Creek Dam in Alaska, the Kunsan Runway in Korea, Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Japan, and the U.S. Army Pacific Headquarters in Hawaii.

The enormity and significance of the POD mission was not lost on its outgoing commander.

“I was so fortunate to command this great organization,” said Gibbs. “I am forever changed.”