Col. Kirk Gibbs assumed responsibilities as the 61st Commander and District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District during a formal change of command ceremony held July 31 at the Community Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California.
Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commander of the Corps’ South Pacific Division, placed the Corps of Engineers flag into Gibbs' hands at the ceremony. In military tradition, passing the flag represents the transfer of command.
“Colonel Gibbs brings extensive training and real experience in management and strategy,” Toy said, “I’ve known you for several years and you have a wonderful reputation in the Engineer Regiment. I know you will take the district to greater heights and your teammates will flourish under your command.”
Outgoing commander and district engineer, Col. Kimberly Colloton, participated in the ceremony and was recognized for her many achievements during her two-year tour of duty in Los Angeles.
Established in 1898, the Los Angeles District operates in a 226,000 square mile area of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Gibbs is now responsible for a $593 million annual budget for planning, engineering, construction, asset management, regulatory, emergency management and environmental services for three Army and eight Air Force installations, interagency and international customers, and the nation’s civil water resources infrastructure in the Southwest, and a current value of assets worth $650 million.
In his remarks, Gibbs spoke to the men and women of the District.
“You are getting an experienced combat engineering leader today, not necessarily a leader with has a breadth or depth of knowledge and understanding of civil works and military programs,” he said. “But what I lack in experience at the district-level, I make up for with passion, hard work and dedication to the people with whom I serve and lead. I can promise you are getting a leader who takes care of people and gives maximum effort every day with a goal of achieving greatness.”
The District’s vision is, “Your partner in engineering a sustainable future.”
The District’s mission statement is, “Safeguard the Nation and protect the environment with expert engineering and water resource solutions.”
The major civil works projects include the Santa Ana River Mainstem project and operation and maintenance of 16 dams, 14 navigation projects, 13 miles of breakwaters, and 54 miles of flood control channels. Ecosystem restoration projects form a major part of the District’s workload and include the Los Angeles River ecosystem restoration study, focused on water quality improvements and passive recreation opportunities. Military missions at 11 installations support the warfighter and include construction of a new LEED Platinum hospital at Fort Irwin, California; F35 facilities at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona; support to the NRO at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; and Special Operations Forces facilities at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
The Interagency and International Support program allows the district to do work for other federal agencies. Major projects include construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure for Veterans Affairs and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
To prepare for tomorrow, the District reaches out to high schools and partners with universities to increase interest in STEM education and career pathways.
Gibbs is a native of Davisville, Missouri, and is a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering.
He comes to the District after being the assistant deputy director for operations on Operations Team 2, National Military Command Center. He is a 2013 graduate of the National War College of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Gibbs ended his address with these words to the District people, “I will give you nothing less than my very best over the next three years, that is my commitment to you.”