The Transatlantic Expeditionary District (TAE) was established on May 15, 2021 from the merger of the Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA) and Task Force Essayons (TFE). Though the District is newly established, it has inherited the storied histories of its predecessors. The following is a brief history of those organizations.
TRANSATLANTIC AFGHANISTAN DISTRICT
The Transatlantic Afghanistan District’s history began in October 2001, when the United States and its coalition partners sent military forces into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The operation’s objective was to displace the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, oust the Taliban government, and establish a new Afghan central government.
Following the ouster of the Taliban government, the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan requested the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair and construct Afghan National Army and National Police facilities. As a result, the USACE headquarters established the Afghanistan area office in Kabul in September 2002.
USACE saw a significant increase in its military construction project workload, especially at Bagram Airfield (BAF) and Kandahar Airfield (KAF). This led to the establishment of the Afghanistan Engineer District (AED) on March 1, 2004, which reported directly to USACE headquarters.
Increasing mission requirements let to the establishment of a second district, AED-South, in Kandahar, on August 3, 2009. The first district, headquartered in Kabul, was re-designated as AED-North. Both districts reported to the newly formed Transatlantic Division (TAD), located in Winchester, Virginia.
On July 9, 2013, AED-North and AED-South were merged to form the Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA), headquartered at Bagram Airfield, where TAA continued to execute USACE’s vital mission in Afghanistan.
Seven years later, on December 16, 2020, TAA’s command colors were cased at Bagram and transported to its new headquarters at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, where they were uncased on March 18, 2021, signifying the establishment of its new headquarters. On December 2018 the Secretary of the Army awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation Award to the Afghanistan District in recognition for their exceptional service in support of the Afghanistan nation during the period covering February 2015 to September 2017.
The Afghanistan District ultimately delivered hundreds of projects as part of a multi-billion dollar portfolio.
TASK FORCE ESSAYONS
On 20 May 2017, the Transatlantic Division and its headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, published an order establishing Task Force Essayons (TFE) in response to ARCENT’s demand for projects in the CENTCOM joint area of operations. The task force was placed under the operational control of ARCENT and under the tactical control of the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). The CJTF-OIR was established in October 2014 to formalize ongoing military actions against the rising threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
TFE’s mission was to directly support the warfighter, serving as “One door to the Corps” for all USACE activities supporting the CJTF-OIR. To quickly respond to urgent project requirements, TFE developed innovative and agile methods of performance along five lines of effort: base Camp master planning, project management, engineering, construction, and environmental management.
The Task Force was initially headquartered at Camp Taji, Iraq. However, as a result of Iranian missile attacks in March 2020, the Task Force was moved to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait where TFE had already established a footprint in order to better coordinate with the CJTF-OIR staff. Once the threat had sufficiently decreased, the task force returned to Iraq, relocating to Erbil Air Base due to the planned transfer of Camp Taji to the Iraqi government. That summer, TFE’s headquarters was moved to Camp Arifjan, and project delivery platforms were established at Erbil and Al-Asad air bases.
At its peak, Task Force Essayons provided support to over 30 bases in Iraq and Syria. It ultimately delivered over 300 projects with a total value OF more than $211 million.
TRANSATLANTIC EXPEDITIONARY DISTRICT
The colors of Task Force Essayons and the Transatlantic Afghanistan District were cased for the final time on May 15, 2021 at a ceremony in the main chapel at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Brigadier General Kimberly M. Colloton, Commanding General of the Transatlantic Division, presided over the ceremony.
In this same ceremony, the colors of the Transatlantic Expeditionary District were uncased for the first time by the District Command Team, Colonel Mark A. Geraldi and Master Sergeant Ronald P. Brown.
The merging of two organizations and establishing a new provisional district is about evolution. This new district, as its motto indicates, is “Always Forward” postured to continue to adapt as the operating environment changes. The new Expeditionary District combines our legacy and history of providing engineering solutions in one of the most complex construction environments in the world, moving us into the future and ensuring we are relevant, ready, and responsive for years to come.