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Posted 10/12/2018

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By Joan Kibler
Transatlantic Division, Public Affairs


CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT – In a traditional change of command ceremony on Sept. 17, Col. Clete Goetz became Commander of Task Force Essayons, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unit that provides engineering and construction services to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Command passed from Lt. Col. H. W. Hugh Darville, who has been Task Force Essayons Commander since May and, and before that, Deputy Commander since January.

Col. (P) Mark Quander, Commander of the Transatlantic Division, presided over the ceremony held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, which was video teleconferenced to Task Force Essayons offices in Iraq where its primary offices are located.

In his opening remarks, Quander thanked the civilian workforce “that continues to serve so faithfully in support of our national security objectives across the U.S. Central Command area of operations. We often talk about the military contribution, but some of our civilians have more deployed time than that of some of our military. We could not deliver this program without you. What you bring to the fight is exceptional,” Quander said.

Darville echoed that theme as he handed over command and prepared to depart. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to his team members, individually thanking them for their contributions to the mission.

“To the entire team, it has been a pleasure working with you, getting to know you, and being a small part of your accomplishments,” Darville said. “I am humbled by your selfless service and sense of duty to our country. You volunteered to deploy and put yourselves in harm’s way to serve our nation at a critical time.”

Activated on May 19, 2017, the Task Force was established to support Operation Inherent Resolve and other regional requirements to enable the degradation and defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria through the provision of agile, responsive, forward-deployed planning, engineering, construction, environmental, and base camp master planning services to coalition forces, other governmental agencies, and the host nation.

“I want to key on this word ‘agile,’” Quander said. “We can do engineering and design services all day long, but if we’re not agile in this environment, we are not responsive to our stakeholders. TFE has done this forward deployed with a tremendous wealth of technical experience and leadership that has enabled the coalition to rapidly build combat power.

“Task Force Essayons delivers the program at the speed of relevance,” Quander continued, “and that gives capability to the coalition on the battlefield.”

Whereas projects are often started during one military rotation and finished in the next, Task Force Essayons is delivering projects before the next rotation. “One military customer expressed appreciation when he saw his project go from award to beneficial occupancy in just four months,” Quander said. “That’s incredible speed.”

Since its activation, the Engineering and Construction section has completed more than 69 project designs, provided quality assurance for more than 25 projects, and completed more than 160 cost estimates. The Environmental team has produced environmental conditions reports for all base camps in theater and assisted in writing and updating the USCENTCOM regulation on environmental considerations during contingency operations. The Base Camp Master Planning team has completed master plans for six base camps in Iraq. The Project Integration Team has guided stakeholders through all phases of their projects from inception through design, construction, closeout and hand over, thus improving project delivery.

As Goetz took command, he thanked Darville for a smooth transition and said he is excited to work with the men and women of Task Force Essayons.

“It’s easy to be excited when you work with an organization that has a strong sense of mission and is dedicated to supporting our customers – the U.S. and the coalition warfighters – as part of the Combined Joint Task Force,” Goetz said.

Goetz’s most recent assignment was as Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) in Washington, D.C. Before that, he commanded the 15th Engineer Battalion, Grafenwoehr, Germany.

Darville returns to Huntsville, Ala., where he is the Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville.