LOS ANGELES – As Col. Aaron Barta begins to settle into his new position as the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, he considers himself lucky.
“Coming to the Los Angeles District is a dream come true, both professionally and personally,” he said. “I am proud to pass on that every leader I've encountered (has told me) I am walking into a world-class organization filled with the Corps’ best.”
Barta became the 62nd LA District commander during a July 19 Change of Command ceremony with Col. Kirk Gibbs, former LA District commander.
In his new leadership role, many of Barta’s priorities will remain the same as Gibbs, which includes continuing work with the Customs and Border Protection; providing support to the Department of Veteran's Affairs; and continuing the District’s civil works feasibility studies.
“I look forward to continuing to support the great work already being executed by employees of the Los Angeles District,” Barta said. “I look forward to meeting our stakeholders and continuing to provide the projects we've been tasked to produce.”
As a career Army officer, Barta, a native of Tioga, Texas, has served in a wide range of leadership positions, from combat engineer to urban search-and-rescue commander to an asymmetric warfare adviser to the commander of the headquarters battalion for the U.S. Army in Europe Headquarters, among others.
One of his missions was leading Soldiers on a search-and-rescue operation for victims of the Sept. 11 attack at the Pentagon. He also has deployed numerous times in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
All of the positions he has served in as an Army officer have helped him hone his leadership skills, Barta said.
“As an Army Officer, I consider myself lucky to have an unusually broad experience and background, which has helped me grow as an officer and leader,” he said. “I believe it has served me well in understanding how to work with all levels of an organization and leaders.”
Throughout the years, Barta said, he has had many mentors who have helped him along the way and all of whom were different and unique.
“Recognizing their diversity helped me realize that anyone can be a great leader, and there are many ways to solve a problem,” he said. “I look for the positive virtues of great leaders and try to apply their methods to the situation at hand.
“The organizations I've commanded or supported didn't become great because of me, but because I focused on maximizing the potential of every individual and helping them realize their potential.”
Barta is the son of a retired Army officer. He was commissioned as an engineer officer June 5, 1995, at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He is married and has three children.