WINCHESTER, Va. — Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, the 54th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and USACE Command Sergeant Major Bradley Houston, drove 70 miles through the winter mix that enveloped Northern Virginia to visit with the men and women of the Transatlantic Division here Jan. 7, 2020.
Semonite and Houston received update briefings on the work being accomplished by the Transatlantic Division Team, including deployed members from the Afghanistan District and Task Force Essayons, who video-conferenced into the meeting.
The general said he was “excited” to come back to Winchester because it holds a special spot in his heart. It was from the Shenandoah Valley that he deployed to Iraq as a colonel to help rebuild that country’s power grid.
TAD Commander Col. Chris Beck said having USACE leaders visit allowed TAD to highlight the key role TAD, TAM, TAA, and TFE play throughout the Middle East daily.
"They departed with a much better understanding of what we do daily to help shape the AOR and support the warfighter," Beck said. "It was good for our team to have a one-on-one opportunity to share mission priorities and concerns with the USACE Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major. It gave them an opportunity to highlight the work they are doing within our Division across multiple countries to support our allied and host-nation partners. It was also an excellent opportunity for our team to hear firsthand about the strategic goals and objectives of the enterprise from senior USACE leadership.”
During the briefing Semonite said the USACE enterprise needs organizations like TAD that can do the oversight, but also come together and form a team in austere environments to get the mission done. “We need a capability [like TAD’s] to counter short-term threats, but also to help combatant commanders manage their long-term capabilities,” he said. “This is probably one of the most agile groups we have to be able to pick up a project and run with it.”
During his visit, Semonite also “coined” three members of the Division team for their outstanding support to the Division members at Winchester and at the deployed locations across the Middle East. Individuals receiving recognition from The Chief were: TAD Logistics Specialist Tim O'Dell; TAM Supervisory Accountant Denise Bridges; and, Program Analyst Christina Grabowski.
“You guys are doing a phenomenal job,” Semonite told the group. “Be proud of what you’re doing.”