On May 15, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Expeditionary District was borne out of a consolidation of the former Task Force Essayons Command and the Transatlantic Afghanistan District, postured and responsive to provide engineering expertise.
“Today represents the culmination of more than ten months of hard government work by Task Force Essayons, the Transatlantic Afghanistan District, and the Transatlantic Division to form this new, combined command,” said Colonel Mark Geraldi, Transatlantic Expeditionary District Commander.
He extended the appreciation of the command team to all of its partners in this endeavor, particularly Brigadier General Kimberly Colloton and Command Sergeant Major Delfin Romani for providing their vision and guidance, along with the Division staff for their support.
“We sometimes hear the Transatlantic Division referred to as a new or contingency organization, and the facts are that the Division and its people have always been at the Tip of the Spear, evolving and adapting to an ever-changing mission since its beginning just after World War II,” said Brigadier General Kimberly Colloton.
Colonel Geraldi also noted the steadfast teamwork of the Task Force Essayons command team, Colonel John Haas, Jr. and Sergeant Major William Klaers, along with the collective retrograding from the Afghanistan District staff.
“To the team that have worked for the Task Force Essayons, you have a lot to be proud of,” said Klaers. “Anytime we can get Soldiers out of living in 10-year-old tents that were designed to last for two, that in my mind is a victory,” said Klaers.
Klaers reflected on some of that TFE history saying we help protect our warfighters by designing force protection products, that’s a victory; we built a Chapel in Erbil to allow our warfighters to worship freely in something other than a mouse-infested tent, that is a victory; and when it comes time to leave our bases in Iraq, we will have helped make them better environmentally than we found them, that is a victory!
“None of this would have been possible without a total team effort by the civilians and military of TFE,” said Klaers, “and that has been my victory, working with the best people USACE has.”
“This team of teams’ diligence, and again, most importantly our combined Expeditionary workforce that did all of the heavy lifting, in some cases literally, to make today’s event all happen on schedule, while simultaneously continuing to deliver our Full, collective program, despite a very complex and fluid operating environment, are exactly what opens the door to our new chapter,” said Colonel Geraldi.
“These are historic times,” said Brigadier General Kimberly Colloton who presided over the ceremony virtually, as did family members of the team and those forward deployed, attending in person.
One such guest attending in person was the Transatlantic Division Command Sergeant Major, Delfin Romani who said it was very humbling to be part of this historic event. “We felt part of a special group witnessing the end of a District and Task Force and the birth of a very dynamic District, especially in these very unpredictable times,” said Romani.
“The merging of these two organizations and establishing a new provisional District is really another evolution, and one that I think is ‘Really Revolutionary’, a new district that is Forward Focused, postured to continue to adapt as the environment changes,” said Colloton.
She mentioned how this Transatlantic Expeditionary District combines our legacy (and history) of providing engineering solutions to one of the most complex construction environments in the world with our expeditionary spirit and ability to deliver the program at the speed of relevance, moving us into the future and ensuring we are relevant, ready and responsive for years to come.
Today’s historic event was about the casing of the Task Force Essayons and Afghanistan District colors, noting that on this day a new chapter begins in the Transatlantic Division’s history as the colors of the Transatlantic Expeditionary District were unveiled.
Flags are almost as old as civilization itself and the casing and uncasing of the colors of these two teams reflect on the history of not just our organization, but of our military profession and our traditions. It is through these traditions that the Army and its Soldiers, civilians and families are united together.
“These two team of teams are joined together now as one extraordinary, expeditionary district, commanded by Colonel Mark Geraldi [who previously commanded the Transatlantic Afghanistan District], uniquely enabled and positioned to meet the evolving needs of a complex global mission-Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, as the new motto of the Expeditionary District states so precisely- Always Forward,” said Colloton.
“The two casings we conducted today do not represent the end of each unit’s respective story,” said Colonel Geraldi, “rather they signify the beginning of a new chapter in the tremendous history of both organizations.”
Located in Kuwait, the Expeditionary District supports Operation Spartan Shield, the unique, multi-component Department of Defense organization made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U. S. Army Reserve support units; Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in its mission to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; and provides facilities in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO Resolute Support mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
The District, “Always Forward”, will provide project management, planning, engineering, design, environmental support, construction management, and real estate services to U. S. and allied mission partners.
“The DNA of both Task Force Essayons and the Afghanistan District are now forever entwined in the Expeditionary District and our continued, future contributions to the CENTCOM area of responsibility,” said Geraldi.
The District will also construct power transmission projects for U.S. agencies, along with the Afghan government, contributing to the electrical grid to provide Afghanistan with facilities and infrastructure to strengthen its security posture and create economic opportunities for years to come.
Colonel Geraldi would routinely refer to the Afghanistan District as a tremendous Team of Teams comprised of the best across the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Enterprise, the Department of Defense, and private industry, along with the support of the local Afghan nationals.
“Now, as the inaugural commander of the Expeditionary District, I am blessed to serve with an expanded, turbo-charged team of teams, drawn from an even wider pool of talent with an enlarged set of additional capabilities to support a broader array of mission partners,” said Colonel Geraldi.
The activation order citation reads in part, “Per permanent order 135-01, effective May 15, 2021, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Division activates the Provisional unit, the Transatlantic Expeditionary District. Its mission is to provide theater-wide engineering solutions and expertise in support of U. S. Coalition, and host nation efforts to enable building capacity within the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility and support the overall CENTCOM mission objective,” signed Kimberly M. Colloton, Brigadier General, USA, Commanding.
Romani, who spent time talking with a few of the dedicated and selfless Department of Army Civilians and military personnel after the ceremony, said they are embracing the new mission with pride and eagerness. He pointed out that this new USACE District has a solid group of professionals that are mission focused, resilient, and determined to deliver the program to their best. “In it to win it! Team of Teams,” he said.
“Of course, our work as the Expeditionary District has now officially only just begun, I have no doubt that our newly combined Team of Teams will continue to Deliver in no less of a spectacular fashion, as they have delivered over the past two decades,” concluded Geraldi.
Always Forward, Building Strong, Essayons!