NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 6, 2020) – The deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District received a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel today during a ceremony at the district’s headquarters.
Col. Paul Kremer, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division deputy commander from Cincinnati, Ohio, promoted Maj. Justin Toole and led the effort to put silver oak leafs on his uniform. He also lauded him for his demonstrated excellence throughout his career, and his potential to excel and lead in the future.
Toole’s wife Katy and mother Arlene put on the epaulettes with his new rank, his daughters Caroline and Mya, and son Ben, put on his shoulder boards. His father Rick pinned his new rank onto his beret. His parents traveled from Georgia to congratulate him for his hard-earned achievement and to participate in his advancement.
Kremer said with a promotion comes new obligations to the Army, and he expects Toole will very capably face new challenges and assignments over the next eight years.
“The Army seems very willing to invest in you Justin,” Kremer stressed. “It’s time to meet that next objective and succeed.”
Toole thanked everyone for attending his promotion, noting that it means a lot to him to have his wife, kids, parents and friends present who mean a lot to him.
“A lot of people pass me on the street and thank me for my service. They don’t even know who I am, and they see my uniform, and the only thing that goes through my mind is like man, thank my family because they have sacrificed a whole lot,” Toole said.
The Army’s newest lieutenant colonel expects to move on to a new assignment later this year, so he expressed how much he’s enjoyed working with the team in Nashville.
“This is a cool family, a great organization, and has great folks who get things done every day,” Toole said.
Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander, said his deputy is a top notch performer deserving of promotion, but noted he could not have done it alone.
“I want to thank his family and let them know I appreciate them for what they have done to support Justin,” Avichal said.
Avichal said Toole has been able to make commitments on behalf of the nation because his wife and family has always supported his Army career and taken care of the home front during extended absences and deployments.
“So this is not just about the great work that Justin has done and all of the promotion potential we see in Justin’s future, but it’s about the great family and great team that’s been supporting him all these years,” Avichal added.
Toole’s mom and dad beamed with pride and spoke about his upbringing, his easy-going personality, and his greatest accomplishment, marrying his high school sweetheart. His wife Katy expressed her love and spoke jokingly about his quirks, then defined his dedication, calmness, recounting his unfaltering commitment as a husband and father, who always does what is best for the family.
“I do understand your passion to serve your country, your family and your friends with complete sincerity,” Katy said to her husband. “I’m so proud of your accomplishments and this well-deserved promotion.”
Toole began his Army career in 2003; he has served in positions at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005 and Operation Enduring Freedom at Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2016.
His military awards and decorations include two awards of the Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, NATO Medal, two Meritorious Unit Citations, Combat Action Badge, Sapper Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Army Engineer Association’s Bronze De Fleury Medal.
Toole became deputy commander Nov. 6, 2017. During his tenure he has assisted Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, former commander, and Avichal in directing all the water resource activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the Cumberland River Basin, and navigation and regulatory matters in the Tennessee River Basin, an area of more than 59,000 square miles, with 49 field offices touching seven states and a work force of over 700 federal employees.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)