New South Atlantic Division Commander Excited to be Back in USACE
By Paco Hamm
USACE, Charleston District
March 3, 2023
A district commander doesn’t often become the division commander in the same region. In the summer of 2022, Brig. Gen. Daniel H. Hibner, made this scenario a reality by becoming the new South Atlantic Division commander.
“I’m so glad to be back in the SAD footprint,” Hibner said. “I am familiar with most of the projects throughout our region due to the quarterly regional governance meetings and other touchpoints.”
Considering this opportunity an absolute advantage, Hibner said. “Now I have the opportunity to ‘deep dive’ and learn more about what our role is throughout the entire southeast – and as I do I gain a greater appreciation for the incredible work we do in SAD.”
On Dec. 5, 2022, the USACE Charleston District gathered with stakeholders to celebrate the completion of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project. With the final pull of a lever and radio call to the dredge, officials marked the end of this decade-long project. The Post 45 project deepened Charleston Harbor to a depth of 52 feet, allowing the largest container ships in the world to use the port at any time and any tide. In attendance at the ceremony was the Charleston District Leadership team, Post 45 Project Delivery Team, South Atlantic Division Commander Brigadier General Daniel Hibner, CEO of the SC Ports Authority Barbara Melvin, Congresswomen Nancy Mace, US Senator Tim Scott, US Senator Lindsey Graham, and SC Governor Henry McMaster.
(USACE photo by Dylan Burnell)
Family is very important to Hibner as his family is also delighted with the move. “This is where my family and I wanted to be and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
Speaking of family, Hibner has a twin brother who was also in the military, since retired to serve in a senior executive service position. So, since his promotion to brigadier general, the question begging to be asked is, “has he had a chance to pull rank?”
“I have to laugh at this question,” he said, acknowledging that they have always been the same rank throughout their career.
“We have literally been promoted the same day for every rank we held. And within a month of my promotion, my brother, now retired, was inducted as a Tier 1 SES. I can’t win,” Hibner said.
When he left SAS and went to Fort Leonard Wood to be the commandant at the U.S Army Engineer School, one thing he took with him from USACE was the importance of the amazing Department of Army (DA) civilians. “They are critical to everything that we do. I was able to work with many civilians at the Army Engineer School as well as the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and was happy to find the quality was the same. Reliable committed teammates.”
When he was picked to go to SAD, he says he took “an appreciation for our ‘regiment,’” and hopes to do more to integrate USACE into regimental activities.
While at the Savannah District, Hibner, had an opportunity to be involved in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project which was completed in 2022. Now he’s involved in many deepening projects across the Southeast.
“The harbor deepening projects that are occurring or have occurred throughout our area of operation are extremely important to our Nation,” said Hibner, who has deployed in four combat tours to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and one deployment to Afghanistan in support of Enduring Freedom.
“We all learned an important lesson during the pandemic when the shipping industry was heavily impacted.”
In December 2022, he joined Charleston District’s commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Johannes during the Post 45 Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.
“To take a project of this scale and impact from a feasibility study to completion in 12 years and within just six years of its federal construction authorization is a testament to the vision of the Port, the cooperation of local leaders, and the determination and professionalism of the Charleston District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
He sees the division continuing to execute all the historically large programs “in the incredible and professional way they do it,” he said.
One of the challenges he cites facing the division, is a challenge many organizations face, the new paradigm of teleworking.
“We need to remain connected in our ‘new normal.’ I believe great professional relationships are grounded in personal relationships. As we work more remotely and have more telework, I hope we still find time to check in on our teammates, look out for each other, and find opportunities to make each other better every day – whether we’re in person or not!”
When asked if he had any new year’s resolutions, the general was succinct. “No hurricanes in ’23.”