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Posted 7/23/2015

Release no. 15-068

Jean M. Pavlov

Col. Jason A. Kirk assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District from Col. Alan M. Dodd on July 17 at a ceremony held at the Times-Union Center, Jacksonville, Florida. 

In his remarks, Brigadier General C. David Turner, Commander of the Corps’ South Atlantic Division, highlighted Kirk’s experience as having prepared him well to command one of the busiest districts in the Corps of Engineers.

 “Col. Kirk, we are happy to have you back in the South Atlantic Division. Your experience in the Army and in the Corps is broad and deep, with assignments in New Orleans and Charleston, and many leadership positions in active engineer battalions and combat teams.  Coming to us from the War College, you are ready to plunge into the many complex issues and projects that Jacksonville has to offer. The challenges here will put all of your strategic skills to the test, but you will also have the time of your life,” Turner said.

Kirk comes to Jacksonville from two unique locations he calls “home” – first the cornfields of DeKalb County, Illinois, and later the city of Shreveport, Louisiana. Kirk is a 1993 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering. 

“Standing here as the new commander and district engineer of the Jacksonville District, I look forward to continuing the incredibly important work to support national security, protect water resources—particularly the Everglades—and coordinate and cooperate successfully with our many military, federal, state and local customers and stakeholders across Florida, the Antilles and beyond,” Kirk said after assuming command.   

Turner officiated at the ceremony.  Lt. Col. Mark Himes, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander, served as the master of ceremonies.  Tim Murphy, the district’s senior civilian and deputy engineer for programs and project management, assisted with the passing of the district colors, which symbolized the transfer of authority from the outgoing to the incoming commander. 

The tradition of the Change of Command ceremony dates back to the passing of the scepter, which is a symbol of authority, from the old Caesar to the new, in the progression of the Roman Empire. The U.S. Army adopted the custom of the passing of the Colors from the British, and instituted it in the 18th century when General George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army in Boston on July 3, 1775. The ceremony symbolizes the passage of authority, responsibility and accountability.