Col. Paul Culberson assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District from Col. Aaron Reisinger during a virtual Change-of-Command ceremony at the district’s headquarters in downtown Chicago, Sept. 18, 2020.
Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and host of the ceremony, passed the guidon from outgoing commander to the incoming commander. This Army tradition symbolizes the passing of authority and responsibility from the departing commander to his successor.
“The Army tradition continues when we pass the colors from one person to another,” Whittle said. “And when you grab those flags and pass them, you can feel the strength of all of the people who have ever served at the Chicago District. And all of that energy goes into the commanders. So Paul, you now have more than enough energy to lead us for the next three years! Welcome.”
As commander of the Chicago District, Culberson is responsible for water resources development in the Chicago metropolitan area, upper Illinois River watershed, Lake Michigan watershed in Wisconsin and the upper Wabash River watershed In Indiana.
“The stock of the Chicago District is measured in trust – the trust of our partners, our stakeholders, and the wonderful people who call the Great Lakes Region their home,” Culberson said during his speech at the ceremony. “I assure you I am fully committed to maintain the trust this district has earned, and look forward to meeting in person to build upon those relationships that have already been forged.”
Prior to assuming command of the Chicago District, Culberson served as the commander of Task Force Essayons, a forward deployed Engineer Task Force responsible for providing oversight of USACE support to the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chicago District, when in 1870 Congress appropriated the first funds to undertake improvements to the harbors at the mouth of the Chicago and Calumet rivers through the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Today the Chicago District works on projects in a variety of focus areas including flood risk management and storm damage reduction, navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, regulatory, emergency management, and interagency and international services. Major projects include operating the electric barriers in the Chicago-area waterways, constructing the 10-billion-gallon McCook Reservoir, conducting the DuPage River Flood Risk Management Study, and implementing a variety of ecosystem restoration projects including ones at Horner Park and Fort Sheridan.