U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Pacific Ocean Division (POD) Commander, Brig. Gen. Kirk Gibbs conducted an official visit to the Far East District, engaging with employees, U.S and international partners and touring critical projects while in the Republic of Korea Aug. 19 - 27.
During the COVID compliant visit, Gibbs, who is the senior U.S. Army engineer in the Pacific, observed how USACE delivers engineering solutions that help secure U.S. partners, allies, and the nation.
Addressing the Far East District workforce, Gibbs emphasized the importance of fostering relationships throughout the peninsula. “I can already see the strong partnerships that we have with Eighth Army and U.S. Forces Korea, and most importantly, with the Republic of Korea,” Gibbs said. “I am extremely proud of the team’s commitment to deepening these relationships.”
The POD commander got a chance to engage with host nation partners during a series of international meetings, which included a signing ceremony at the district headquarters, Aug. 27.
Gibbs met with leaders from Korean Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) to sign an Implementation Agreement. The arrangement establishes a mutual partnering framework to govern collaborative activities between KICT and USACE. Collaboration will focus on initiatives related to construction technology, standards, infrastructure management and sustainment and other related topics.
“I’m honored to represent USACE in formalizing our growing relationship with KICT. As mentioned in the IA, this opens doors for opportunities in scientific and technical cooperation and underscores the importance of joint research and development,” Gibbs said.
Separately, Gibbs also engaged with K-water, Korea’s state-owned water utility responsible for all things water in South Korea. USACE and K-water have a long history together and have enjoyed a formalized relationship since 2003. Gibbs highlighted the value of close collaboration with K-water and extended his gratitude to the international partners for their participation in past, current and upcoming engagements.
Wrapping up the partnership meetings, POD leaders headed out on a windshield tour. With boots on the ground at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Gibbs gained a better grasp of the incredible scope and magnitude of the overall installation construction mega project.
“If you want to see engineering excellence, come to USAG Humphreys. The Far East District has basically built a city within this installation; and that’s no small feat” he said. “This is a shining example of engineering excellence. What we are building is enabling national security in a major way,” Gibbs added.
During the installation tour, Gibbs visited various construction sites, to include project FH100 Army Family Housing Towers, where he remarked how Far East District employees improve the quality of life for service members, DoD civilians and families.
“The high quality of design and construction management displayed by this team strengthens our communities and represents the kind of outstanding expertise the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is known for throughout the globe,” Gibbs said.
USACE Far East District is the premier engineering, design, and construction agent for all DoD agencies in the Republic of Korea. Since its inception, the Far East District has played a critical role in the security and stability of the region and in strengthening the alliance between the US and the ROK. As such, it also fulfills a unique mission; the only “maneuver” district within USACE, FED must always be prepared for war, even while building for peace on the Korean peninsula. The Far East District is responsible for executing a multi-billion-dollar program, the largest construction program managed by the U.S. Army.