The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers only forward-deployed district welcomed its newest commander here July 6 as the district continues its pursuit of engineering excellence in the Central Command area of responsibility.
The reins to the caravan, as the district is known colloquially, were passed to Col. Mohammed Rahman by outgoing district commander, Lt. Col. Richard Childers during a ceremony officiated by Transatlantic Division Commander Col. William Hannan and attended by local leadership, the district workforce and Kuwait Ministry of Defense partners.
Childers, who has led the Expeditionary District for the past year, emphasized the need for strong partnerships and said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not do anything alone. "We rely heavily on our partners and the relationships that we've built at every level to accomplish our mission," he said. Childers went on to say that Hannan set the bar for effectively partnering with stakeholders while the two worked together during their time in the Northwest Division. "I am a better leader because of the time that you invested in me and more importantly, thank you for the genuine concern and care that you've demonstrated for our people," said Childers.
Childers, also thanked the Middle East District leadership, corporate board, program managers, branch chiefs, area engineers, deputy commanders and senior enlisted advisors for their collective role in providing engineering solutions and expertise in a challenging region where nothing is ever easy, according to Childers.
"You are the brain trust of this organization. You fight through the weird, atypical and unexpected daily friction of our dynamic and multi-faceted mission ... you drive delivery and I am forever grateful to each of you for your leadership and dedication to finding a way to make it happen everyday."
Childers called his tenure as the Expeditionary District commander an amazing ride and said that the team has more accomplishments that can be mentioned.
"You rose to the occasion," he said to the workforce. "It has been my honor to work along side you. Together, we made this organization better than when we found it."
While the district has provided design, contracting, construction and quality assurance support to multiple projects across the CENTCOM region, Childers said he would be remiss to not mention the support provided to Kuwait.
In 2022, the Expeditionary District executed ten independent, vital contracts at over $12 million, he said. From constructing unit headquarters, air traffic control renovations and equipment storage warehouses for vital stocks of equipment, Childers said that, "these characterize the enduring, effective and expanding U.S.- Kuwaiti military partnership ... and I am glad to have been a part of it."
But perhaps most importantly, Childers paid homage to his family without whom, he said, his success as an Army officer wouldn't be possible. Through 22 years of service, countless moves, work trips and the challenges of military life, Childers said that he is excited to return home to spend some quality time with his loved ones.
"This entire organization owes you a huge debt of gratitude," he said to his family who attended virtually. "I am only able to serve because you continue to hold every other aspect of our family together -- quietly, in the background ... no fanfare, no awards, no report cards, no recognition. You allowed me to give my full attention to the burdens of command."
For the new commander, the opportunity to lead a dedicated, professional organization like the Expeditionary District is a humbling experience and a chance to continue to build partnerships, capacity and standing as the executor of engineering excellence in the region.
"We are the definition of engineering excellence, not just in the U.S., but all over the world," said Rahman. "Our civilian workforce is the bedrock of this organization. You work very hard and provide 110 percent of your skills to make a difference in this world. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."