News: 53rd chief of Engineers makes first visit to Fort Worth district project sites
Story by Edward Rivera
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Fort Worth district hosted the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at various projects within the district’s oversight.
Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, chief of Engineers, spent two days meeting district team members, toured current and recently completed projects and briefed on the various relationships the district has cultivated with its customers.
The 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers’ visit began at Fort Hood, Texas, where he received command briefings from Southwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen Thomas W. Kula and Col. Charles H. Klinge, Jr., commander, Fort Worth district. Prior to an overview of the Central Texas Area Office and windshield tour of the various projects on Fort Hood, he was briefed by Kevin Burgin, wounded warrior liaison, on the district’s support and initiatives for wounded warriors.
“We need to keep going at it to help our wounded either return to duty or help them transition successfully,” said Bostick. We must make a difference and find that win-win scenario. It’s the right thing to do.”
Burgin continued to expound on the volunteer efforts of the district to put on hunts and other events for the wounded warriors while on route to see what the district was doing to enhance the quality of life for all in Fort Hood.
Bostick’s first stop was to the Fort Hood Hospital construction site, where he was met by five recent additions to the district and CTAO team. The Chief was briefed by Bryan Kotalik, construction representative who shared some of his personal story with Bostick.
“I was very pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with General Bostick and share my story with him, to include my transition from active duty to USACE and the experiences I have gained,” said Kotalik.
According to the Chief, we need to find ways to recruit, train and grow our people. “We grow them through education, assignment and experience. We need to send them to school and offer them assignments that provide a wider range of skills,” Bostick said. “It’s great to spend time with interns. They are passionate about their involvement.”
Kotalik said he left the group inspiring and encouraging words for the younger generation in the Corps. “He reinforced USACE's vital role in the Army, specifically reinforcing everything we do, especially the building on the new Hospital, is to provide the best possible conditions for all the soldiers,” said Kotalik.
From the hospital site, Bostick got the opportunity to visit a completed Warrior Transition Barracks and the Fort Hood Chapel. From site to site the reports to the chief were positive and praised the working relationships between the district and the end users.
According to Brian Dosa, director, Public Works, Fort Hood, the Corps has always been results oriented and focuses on how can we? Vice, why can’t we?”
The second leg of the USACE commanders visit was to the San Antonio Area Office on Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston and to the San Antonio Military Medical Center. At the SAAO Bostick held a town hall meeting with more than 100 District team members.
During his comments the chief of engineers expressed his gratitude to the audience for entire district.
“Thanks for the hard work, dedication and how you represent the army values and professionalism,” said Bostick. “This is where the work really happens, at the districts. When you look at all you do and have done, you should be proud.”
During the town hall meeting and throughout his visit to the district projects he recognized several individuals for their hard work and dedication. One presentation was to Wayne Carter, chief, Technical Engineering Branch, SAAO. Bostick presented Carter with the Bronze de Fleury Medal.
“It was a humbling experience to be considered by my fellow engineers as being worthy of such a prestigious award,” said Carter. “The icing on the cake was the opportunity to visit with our new Chief and be the recipient of the de Fleury Medal presented by Lt. Gen. Bostick. Wow, what a way to end my USACE career.”
Bostick concluded his tour with a look at the Emergency Department at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
“When it comes down to it, the future of USACE is in its people,” he said. “It’s not about facilities, weapon systems or buildings but about our people. We have people with good hearts and good heads; I’ll take those people that we have in this district and around the Corps, any day.”