News: USACE Galveston District commander retires
Story by Sandra Arnold
GALVESTON, Texas – Col. Christopher W. Sallese relinquished command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District to Col. Richard P. Pannell during a change of command ceremony today at the USACE Galveston District’s Jadwin Building in Galveston, Texas.
USACE Southwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula presided over the ceremony.
“It is an honor to be here during this special occasion," said Kula. “This day symbolizes the strength of the past with the hope and promise of a continued successful future. Chris will never be able to count the number of Soliders’ lives he has touched throughout his career and I thank him for his great service to our nation.”
Kula thanked Sallese’s family for their continued support during his three-year tour as the commanding officer of the district and the staff who are instrumental in the continued success of the organization. He awarded Sallese with the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal in recognition of his 27-year career in the Army and for sustained exceptional service to the Engineer Regiment in many positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in his selection as the USACE Galveston District commander.
As district commander, Sallese led the USACE Galveston District through some of the most demanding years in the district’s 133-year history, which were marked by a significant reduction in funding during fiscal year 2013.
Under Sallese’s leadership and strategic vision, the district continued to excel in providing vital engineering, navigation, flood risk mitigation, ecosystem restoration, shoreline protection and regulatory services for all our customers in the region as part of the world’s largest public engineering, design and construction management agency.
His contributions had a direct positive impact in keeping the nation's top ranked navigation and commercial waterways and ports open for business; projects that encompass 1,000 miles of channels, 28 international ports and 700 miles of coastline.
“You all, the Custodians of the Coast, have truly earned a special place in the history of this district and will certainly be remembered as public servants who answered the call of duty,” said Sallese. “I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for this command during my time here. I am incredibly appreciative for your selfless service to our nation.”
A graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bach¬elor of Science in Ceramic Science and Engineering, Sallese received his commission through Army ROTC.
Following graduation, he was assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, Wildflecken, Germany, where he served as platoon leader, assistant S-3 and HHC executive officer. In November 1991, he was reassigned to the 23rd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Division, Hanau, Germany, for deployment in support of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort.
In 1993, Sallese was assigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion (AA), 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., where he served as Battalion S4, 187th Infantry Brigade Engineer and commander of Alpha Company. Following command, he was assigned to Seoul, Korea, as a protocol action officer in support of U.S. Forces Korea. In 1996, Sallese was assigned as a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, managing the remediation of EPA superfund sites. Following this assign¬ment, he served as an active component advisor to reserve component engineer units in Missouri.
In 2001, Sallese graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He also earned a Master of Science in Management from Troy State University. He was then assigned to the 36th Engineer Group (construction), Fort Benning, Ga., where he served as the group’s operation officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. Following the deployment, Sallese also served as the group’s deputy commander and chief, design management.
In 2004, Sallese was assigned to the USACE Galveston District as the deputy district commander. In 2006, he assumed command of the 92nd Engineer Battalion (C)(H), 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., and deployed his battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V.
Upon completion of command in 2008, he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair, Washington D.C., and earned a master’s degree in Strategic Resources. After graduation, Sallese served as chief, Programs Integration Division, assistant chief of staff, Installation Management, at the Pentagon.
Sallese’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3), Meritorious Service Medal (8), Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal (4), National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Saudi Arabian Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwaiti Kuwait Liberation Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and Sapper Tab.
He became the 50th commander of the Galveston District July 7, 2010 and retired from a 27-year career with the Army following the change of ceremony today. A native of Johnstown, Pa., he and his family plan to reside in League City, Texas.
About the USACE Galveston District: The USACE Galveston District, established in 1880 and fondly known as the "Custodians of the Coast," plays a key role in America’s well-being by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce and serves the nation as part of the world’s largest public engineering, design and construction management agency. Encompassing the Texas coast from Louisiana to Mexico; an area that spans across 50,000 square miles, contains more than 1,000 miles of channels (250 deep-draft and 750 shallow-draft), serves 28 ports and 700 miles of coastline, the district successfully executes its mission of providing vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters. With its 300 dedicated professionals, the district will continue to provide valuable navigation, flood risk mitigation, ecosystem restoration, shoreline protection, regulatory services, military construction and emergency management services to our nation and remains fully committed to continuing our mission of "BUILDING STRONG."
For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.