By Stephen Rochette
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District ushered in new leadership as Lt. Col. John C. Becking assumed command from Lt. Col. Philip M. Secrist III during a June 26, 2012 ceremony in the Wanamaker Building's Crystal Tea Room.
Becking became the 57th commander in the District's 148 year history.
"I'm humbled by this honor and I look forward to working with our partners," said Becking, who previously served as a NATO engineer operations staff officer at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Col. Christopher Larson, acting commander of the USACE North Atlantic Division, presided over the ceremony. He said Becking is prepared to command the District.
"He's trained for 20 years for this position and I know he will hit the ground running," said Larsen.
Larsen pointed to the continued funding of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project and the construction of the Army's C4ISR facilities at Aberdeen Proving Ground as part of Secrist's legacy as commander.
"The Delaware River Deepening is complex and (Secrist) worked his way through the challenges and effectively balanced many interests. The completed C4ISR complex is one of the premier facilities on the east coast. You should be applauded," said Larsen.
Secrist reflected on his time with the Philadelphia District and noted the persistence and flexibility of the workforce during his tenure.
"This has been a great experience because everyday I've been able to learn something new while here," he said. "I also want to thank friends and neighbors for being so welcoming to my family during these last two years."
Secrist, who will serve at the Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze De Fleury Medal. Former District Commander Col. (ret.) Robert Keyser inducted him into the Philadelphia District Engineers Hall of Fame.
Becking will oversee a 500-person workforce responsible for managing the water resources of the Delaware River basin; building facilities for the Army and Air Force; and providing engineering and environmental services for other agencies.
Becking earned a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April 1995 and is a registered professional engineer in Virginia.