In historic military tradition, command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District transferred today from Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., to Col. Travis J. Rayfield.
In a ceremony at the Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kan., Rayfield received the traditional guidon from Hannan through Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger, the commander of the Northwestern Division, thus assuming command of the district.
“I am coming into the Kansas City District at an amazing time. I’ve already been able to get eyes on multiple business lines on the Missouri River; interagency support in St. Louis; and visibility on future planning efforts. It’s truly an honor to join a District in the Heartland with an opportunity to sustain the great reputation we’re known for,” said Rayfield.
Since the Middle Ages, the guidon flag is a standard that serves as a unit marker. The change of command ceremony offers subordinates the opportunity to see the formality of the transfer of authority from one officer to another as a means of preserving the continuity of command and authority. The ceremonies are formal and dignified having musical accompaniment from a military quartet and having an honor guard composed of park rangers chosen from the lake projects in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the higher headquarters for the district, commended Hannan and Rayfield, “I couldn’t have asked for a better commander here than Col. Bill Hannan. The Army and the Corps of Engineers wish him great fortune as he continues his Army career. We are very excited to have Col. Travis Rayfield join us as the leader of the district and look forward to the continuance of excellence here in the Kansas City District.”
Hannan assumed command of the Kansas City District July 2019. He commanded during the latter part of the 2019 Missouri River Flood and the extensive recovery operations to restore levees and navigation devices on the river.
Before the change of command ceremony, Hannan received the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal for his exemplary service to the Engineer Corps and the Legion of Merit Medal in recognition of his leadership to the district and distinguished Army career. Hannan will serve as the Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation in the American Embassy at Baghdad, Iraq in his next assignment.
"It’s been an honor to serve you as your commander – it has been the highlight of my 24-year Army career. It was easy to come to work every day because I was continuously inspired by YOU and all the amazing Kansas City District employees," said Hannan.
Rayfield is a native of Sedro-Woolley, Washington. In 1999, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy in 1999, a Master of Science in Engineering Management in 2003 from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri, and a Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. His military education includes the Engineer Officer Basic Course, Engineer Captain’s Career Course, and the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Missouri and holds a Project Management Professional Certification.
Rayfield’s new responsibilities include executing civil works, military construction, cleanup of hazardous, toxic and radiation waste, and emergency response programs, and oversight of about 900 employees.