CONCORD, Mass., July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a Change of Command ceremony today at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass., District Commander Col. Charles P. Samaris passed the command flag, signifying change of command authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New England, to new District Commander Col. Christopher J. Barron. Presiding over the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Kent D. Savre, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division.
The custom of acknowledging a change in command officers of a military unit is a formal ceremony and dates back to pre-Roman times. The ceremony emphasizes the continuity of leadership and unit identity, despite changes in individual authority, and symbolizes the transfer of command responsibility from one individual to another. This transfer is physically represented by passing the Command Flag, the tangible symbol of the unit, from the outgoing commander to the next senior commander to the new commander.
A native of Goshen, N.Y., Col. Barron is a graduate of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in physics. In 1991, Col. Barron was commissioned a 2(nd) lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. He has served in various U.S. locations and in Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Germany, Macedonia and Bosnia. Challenges he will face include regulatory activities, navigation improvements, environmental restoration, clean up at formerly used defense sites, dredging needs of harbors and other issues.
As District commander since July 29, 2011, Col. Samaris had many accomplishments while managing Corps responsibilities in the six-state region, overseeing civil works activities and engineering, construction and real estate work for Army, Air Force and other Department of Defense and federal activities. Accomplishments include: dredging projects; environmental restoration; progress on several EPA Superfund projects including the New Bedford Harbor Superfund Project; flood risk management that prevented millions of dollars in flood damages; and support to military projects at Joint Base Cape Cod, Hanscom Air Force Base, U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center and Westover Air Reserve Base. He managed an annual program of $210 million in fiscal year 2014.
The Corps' role in New England dates back to the country's founding. An engineer force first proved its value in a military operation in New England in June 1775 when Col. Richard Gridley, at the direction of Gen. George Washington, designed fortifications for the Battle of Bunker Hill. Since then, Army Engineers have been a sustaining force in the field and have accomplished peacetime civil works missions that have helped develop a nation.
The Corps' primary mission is to support the Nation, serve U.S. military units worldwide with first-rate facilities, engineering know-how for Soldiers in the field, and as an implementing agent of national water resource policy. The six-state New England region serviced by the New England District covers 66,000 square miles with a population of 14.6 million.
Water resource programs in the region deal primarily with flood damage reduction, navigation, water supply, operation and maintenance of completed projects, including the Cape Cod Canal, and regulation of activities affecting U.S. waters and wetlands. The District is involved in a myriad of environmental restoration programs, hurricane and shoreline protection, disaster recovery, and studies concerning water supply and quality, dredge material disposal, and comprehensive studies of regional river basins. It accomplishes a diverse program of work for other federal agencies, primarily in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program.
In accomplishing its basic missions, the District contributes to the region's well-being in such areas as harbor improvement and maintenance, flood risk management, recreation, water quality and conservation of natural resources. For information (and photos) about the District and new Commander Col. Barron visit the website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/.
SOURCE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers