USACE POD changes command

| August 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Terri Kojima
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pacific Ocean Division Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp (center left), chief of engineers and commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, passes the USACE command colors to Col. Edward Kertis, commander, USACE-Pacific Ocean Division, during the USACE-POD change of command ceremony, July 30, at Palm Circle, Fort Shafter. (Dino W. Buchanan, Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs)FORT SHAFTER — Service members, families, government civilians and friends gathered for a change of command ceremony, held Friday, on historic Palm Circle, here, to bid farewell to Brig. Gen. Mark Yenter, departing commander, division engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division, and to welcome Col. Edward Kertis, incoming commander.
Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, chief of engineers and commanding general, USACE, praised Yenter for his strategic leadership during his two-year tenure in the Pacific.
“Mark is a strategic thinker (who) led the Corps in many areas,” Van Antwerp said.
Under Yenter’s unyielding stewardship, the division’s military construction program grew from $850 million to $1.2 billion, which led the Corps’ enterprise-wide execution rate for “ready-to-advertise” and project awards, Van Antwerp said.
His visionary leadership provided the path for long-range planning, garnering the fiscal support for the more than $15 billion multiyear Japan Defense Program Realignment Initiative.
The division commander forged strong working relationships with the government of Japan, U.S. Forces Japan, service components and installations, which resulted in effective resourcing, master planning, programming and scheduling for delivery of “troop-ready” facilities.
Yenter directed the significant advancement of the $12.8 billion Korea Transformation Program, which will relocate U.S. troops from various bases in Korea to an expanded U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys in the Republic of Korea. 
Under Yenter’s leadership, the division awarded 94 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects totaling about $140 million in economic stimulus dollars, which helped put local contractors to work in Alaska and Hawaii, contributing to the nation’s economic recovery.
Yenter also led the Corps’ execution of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Air Program, which grew from 23 projects totaling $7.5 million to 127 projects totaling $36 million.
The chief of engineers described Yenter’s leadership as “inspirational, innovative and visionary.”
Van Antwerp presented Yenter with the Distinguished Service Medal for his “exceptionally meritorious service” as commander and division engineer of POD.
Yenter, who led POD since July 29, 2008, was quick to credit the leadership, and the men and women throughout the division and districts.
“It’s not talking about statistics, but it’s actually what you do that counts,” Yenter said. “The empowered workforce of the Pacific Ocean Division is passionate about delivering construction projects that meet the end users’ requirements and assure enduring quality.”
Yenter will now step into his new role as the U.S. Forces Afghanistan Director of Engineering and Commander of the Corps’ Transatlantic Division (Forward-Afghanistan).
Yenter’s replacement, Col. Kertis, has more than 25 years of experience in the Army. He most recently commanded the Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District, in Georgia. 
“You’re here because you’re exactly the right guy to take this job,” Van Antwerp said to Kertis. “(Kertis) is an exceptional leader,” Van Antwerp continued. “We couldn’t have picked a person with more credentials, more know how.”
Kertis is responsible for leading 1,800 military and Department of Army civilian engineers, technicians and other professionals in the annual execution of a $2 billion program. He executes a mission that includes engineering design, construction and real estate management for the Army in Hawaii, Army and Air Force in Alaska, and for all Department of Defense agencies in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.
The division also administers the Corps’ federal water resource development and regulatory programs governing water and wetland work in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Category: Leadership, News

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