Col. Matthew W. Luzzatto assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District and became its 54th Commander at a military change of command ceremony held June 25, 2020. Col. Luzzatto now succeeds Col. Thomas Asbery who commanded the New York District since June 2017.
The event was broadcast live via social media, and for the first time, a New York District change of command ceremony was held in the Garden State at the Corps' Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City.
The venue was much simpler and scaled down due to Corona Virus COVID-19 protocols. Participants and guests adhered to social distancing and the event served as an example of the flexibility of the District. Typically, a traditional ceremony would include much fanfare, with the entire ranks of the workforce, along with various dignitaries and partners in attendance.
The members of the official party included Jeffrey L. Milhorn, presiding officer, and Commander of the Army Corps' North Atlantic Division; Col. Asbery outgoing New York District Commander; Col. Luzzatto, incoming New York District Commander; and Mr. Joseph Seebode, New York District's Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management.
Ms. Jodi McDonald, New York District's Deputy Chief of Operations Division narrated the ceremony, and the invocation was delivered by Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Fisher.
Solidifying the event was the passing of the Corps' colors from Col. Asbery to Col. Luzzatto, a symbolic act and military tradition that provides for the orderly transfer of authority and organizational responsibility.
McDonald narrated the purpose of the colors being passed that has occurred throughout military history. With the passing of the colors, Col. Luzzatto assumed command of the New York District.
Maj. Gen. Milhorn thanked Col. Asbery for his success in overseeing many engineering and construction efforts during his tenure and advancing important studies and projects. He praised his commitment and dedication to the Corps and Division and welcomed Col. Luzzatto and his family.
During his remarks, Col. Asbery expressed his confidence and optimism for the District’s future and conveyed his thanks and appreciation.
"I have been proud to serve as the New York District Commander, said Col. Asbery.
In the backdrop, three Corps vessels off the pier sparked the event, displaying a large national ensign flag and large Corps flag. Horn blasts were rendered, signifying a salute to the outgoing commander. Col. Asbery faced the vessels and rendered a return salute.
Maj. Gen. Milhorn enumerated Luzzatto’s many contributions and welcoming him and his family to the North Atlantic Division Team.
To welcome the Luzzatto family, the incoming commander's wife Shannon Luzzatto was presented with a bouquet of yellow roses, and a bouquet of red roses was presented to the outgoing commander's wife, Carla Asbery.
Col. Luzzatto is not a stranger to the Corps. He previously commanded the Charleston District and served with the Honolulu District. As commander of the New York District, he now leads an organization that employs a 500 plus workforce of military and civilian professionals who annually execute various programs and projects.
The event finale included a harbor inspection aboard a Corps vessel for the incoming commander and his official party.
New York District is one of six of the North Atlantic Division headquartered at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York. New York District's footprint encompasses northeastern New Jersey, eastern and south-central New York State, including the New York Harbor, Long Island, as well as areas of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Greenland.