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    Jacksonville District, Antilles Area Office welcomes new deputy commander

    Antilles Area Office welcomes new deputy commander

    Photo By Maj. Catalina Carrasco | Maj. Jesus Soto takes over as the new Deputy District Engineer and Deputy Commander...... read more read more

    The Antilles Area Office has a new Deputy District Engineer and Deputy Commander, Maj. Jesus Soto, a Newark, N.J. native, who assumed the new role July 7.

    Soto, who was raised in Morovis, Puerto Rico, returned to the island after 16 years of being away on a variety of assignments with the U.S. Army, his latest as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Texas A&M Central University in Killeen, Texas.

    He joined the U.S. Army in 2004 and served as an aviation operations specialist for five years before attending Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., and earning his commission as a second lieutenant in the Engineer Branch in 2009.

    “When I joined the service 16 years ago, I was testing the waters, I wanted to know what it was about,” said Soto. “I saw the potential that it had to make me a better person and overall professional at any job.”
    Even though engineering was not his first career choice - he wanted to be an aviator but couldn’t because he is color blind - Soto said he remains enthusiastic and has no regrets.

    “Being an engineer is great. We are problem solvers and are always trying to make things better.”

    Prior to his assignment, Soto’s interaction with the Corps of Engineers was minimal, except during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 with the Regional Command-West. At that time the U.S. Army was transitioning the buildings that were used during Operation Enduring Freedom back to the host nation and to the Afghan National Police.

    After the buildings had been use by the U.S. military, they were renovated and turned over to the Afghans. The RC-West soldiers made sure the new tenants knew how to manage and operate the properties, ensuring that they knew how to request their own supplies.

    “Once that process was completed, we would transition the buildings to them, and the buildings would come off the books of the United States,” Soto explained.

    While he may be new to the Corps, Soto said he is looking forward to performing the duties of his new position. His expectations on becoming the new DDE are to further understand the program and support the Antilles team, while providing support to the community.

    “I am hard charging and very willing to help anyone,” adding that he expects, “to be the person who facilitates any issues, helps Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in any emergency or disaster, and is able to help the communities when in need.”

    Soto is the elder of two sons and was raised by Jobino Soto, a now retired pharmacy worker, and Maria del Carmen Melendez, a homemaker.

    He received his master’s degree in Higher Education and Administration from the University of Louisville, Kentucky and completed Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is also a graduate of the American University in Bayamon with bachelor’s degrees in physical education and technology. While at school he was a member of the university’s NCAA Division II varsity volleyball team.

    He is married to Lorraine Torres and together they have four children, Ruben, Kelvin, Erica and Johanan, and five grandkids, twins Ruben and Alexsis, Lorianne, Kelysha and Ariella.

    Outside of work Soto maintains a very active lifestyle. Together with his wife they own a barber shop, which his wife manages. Soto also enjoys outdoor activities.

    “My hobbies are anything that involves the outside – nature – from riding my motorcycle to hunting, fishing and running. I like being active as much as I can,” he said.

    Soto backfills Maj. Alexander Walker, who moves on to a new mission with the U.S. Army in South Korea.

    - 30-



    Date Taken: 09.24.2020
    Date Posted: 09.24.2020 15:15
    Story ID: 378615
    Location: SAN JUAN, PR 
    Hometown: MOROVIS, PR
    Hometown: KILLEEN, TX, US

    Web Views: 173
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