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Posted 3/18/2011

Release no. 11-006


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FORT SHAFTER FLATS, OAHU -- Maj. William C. Hannan Jr. became the second commander of the Honolulu District-based 565th Engineer Detachment, Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) March 18 during a change of command ceremony held at Fort Shafter Flats on Oahu.

Maj. William C. Hannan Jr. became the second commander of the Honolulu District-based 565th Engineer Detachment, Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) March 18 during a change of command ceremony held at Fort Shafter Flats on Oahu.

Hannan took command from Maj. Evan Ting who is moving on to work in the Emergency Management branch within the Corps of Engineers’ Pacific Ocean Division.

At the ceremony, Maj. Evan Ting, outgoing FEST-A commander, recalled numerous personnel changes and short-notice travel for training - to Europe, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands and Pakistan- since he assumed command of the unit in March 2009.

“It’s been a whirlwind of activity since that day,” Ting said. The training schedule continues to build, as does the experience and knowledge for our future missions. The team has achieved some incredibly accomplishments in a very short time. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve done. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this organization.”

The current unit, which has been active since Oct. 2007 and has the mission of providing responsive technical engineer planning and limited design capabilities in support of combatant commands and civil agencies for the Full Spectrum of Operations, has traveled to the Philippines, Palau, Marshall Islands, Germany, Korea, and to the Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand.

Maj. Hannan reports to the 565th following graduation from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and a previous assignment as a Small Group Leader for the Engineer Captain Career Course and Battalion S3/Executive Officer of the 5th Engineer Battalion during train-up, deployment and redeployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10.

The FEST-A staffing consists of a Detachment Commander, a non-commissioned officer-incharge and six Department of Defense civilians who serve in the jobs of a geographic information system specialist/cartographer, a contract specialist, civil, environmental, mechanical and electrical engineers with other engineering disciplines available for augmentation depending on the mission. The detachment provides technical engineering support to include but not limited to conducting: engineer reconnaissance, engineering design and planning of construction projects, construction management, limited contingency contracting support, and other general engineering tasks. One of the most valuable capabilities is the unit’s ability to conduct reach-back support with experts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and other sources of expertise, when a problem in the field needs quick resolution.

The teams are typically attached to Combatant Commands in order to provide them with skillsets that are not organic within the organization. FESTs are commonly aligned to Brigade Combat Teams or may be attached to a Division.

The original 565th was constituted on Sept. 9, 1944 in the Army of the United States as the 3090th Engineer Service Detachment. On March 20, 1951 it was designated as the 565th Engineer Welding Detachment and allotted to the Regular Army and eventually, as the 565th Engineer Detachment on April 22, 1965. Since that date the unit has been activated and deactivated three times with the recent activation date of Oct. 16, 2007. The unit saw extensive action during World War II in Normandy and Germany and during the Vietnam War.

The evolution of an on-call, all-volunteer FEST-A to an established military unit was motivated by the Corps’ No. 1 goal in its Campaign Plan, which is delivering USACE support to combat, stability and disaster operations through forward deployed and reach-back capabilities.

As the Army’s needs have changed since the Cold War, the FEST-A has become a vital asset. With military deployments to nations such as Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Army and USACE discovered gaps in their ability to rapidly provide the facilities in these austere environments that U.S. service members need to conduct operations. USACE responded by ensuring the top priority was executing the concept of field force engineering. It started in 1999 with the establishment of “Legacy FEST-As”, and teams for logistics, environmental support, contingency real estate and infrastructure assessment. The Alaska District was the first FEST-A to go into Iraq in 2003. By 2009, field force engineering became a formal part of the Army.

Maj. Ting thanked the members of the 565th Engineering Detachment, and everyone within Honolulu District who worked to build his team into one with a reputation for accomplishing the mission.

“They’re ready to serve the Corps, the Army and our nation – whenever and wherever the need may arise.”