NEW YORK— On June 8, 2015, Col. David A. Caldwell assumed command of the Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, from Col. Paul Owen at a Change of Command ceremony on Governor’s Island at Castle Williams that was attended by almost 300 family members, friends, employees, military personnel and heads of federal and city agencies.
Prior to the official ceremony, Col. Owen and his wife, Wendy, were joined by family, friends and colleagues for an awards presentation where he received the Legion of Merit Medal for meritorious service and the Silver DeFleury Medal for outstanding service to the Engineer Regiment. Mrs. Owen was recognized with a certificate of appreciation and a District pin for her support of the District. Shortly thereafter, the Change of Command began.
Amid the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, Col. Owen, Col. Caldwell, Col. William Graham, commander, North Atlantic Division, and Deputy District Engineer Joseph Seebode marched to the front podium for the Change of Command — a tradition dating back to the beginning of our nation’s history providing for the orderly transfer of organizational leadership. After the national anthem, invocation, flowers presented to Mrs. Owen and Mrs. Caldwell and a salute from District vessels, the three colonels addressed the audience, giving thanks to the many people supporting them in their service and looking ahead to new challenges.
Col. Caldwell comes well prepared to lead the District, formerly serving as Commander of the USACE Walla Walla District in Washington State, chief of the Engineer Office Branch at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, and earning seven Meritorious Service Medals and the Bronze Star Medal. He joins New York from the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania where he received advanced military education.
Col. Owen leaves June 12 for a one-year assignment as commander of the USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District in Afghanistan. As commander of New York District, Col. Owen led a staff of more than 575 military and civilian personnel in executing a complex and diverse program including military construction, civil works projects and international and interagency support. He was responsible for overseeing the District’s emergency response and recovery efforts as a result of Hurricane Sandy, including unwatering/temp power for critical public infrastructure and debris management across New York City’s five boroughs and Long Island. Col. Owen also oversaw the District’s Sandy coastal recovery program which consists of more than 60 projects and more than $3B in appropriated funds for coastal restoration and improvement.