By Honolulu District Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Christopher W. Crary became the 69th commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District in a military ceremony held Thursday on Fort Shafter, Hawaii's Palm Circle parade field.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division Commander Maj. Gen. Richard L. Stevens hosted the ceremony during which outgoing commander Lt. Col. Thomas D. Asbery and incoming commander Lt. Col. Crary passed the ceremonial flag symbolizing the official change of command. During the ceremony, Crary and his family were presented with fresh flower leis, a Hawaiian symbol of welcome, with the Asbery family also receiving leis as a tribute to their service.
For his outstanding work and contributions to the Honolulu District, Asbery received the Meritorious Service Medal in a ceremony before the Change of Command. Asbery leaves to become the Pacific Ocean Division Deputy Commander.
During his tenure, Asbery met the challenge of successfully leading the District in executing all mission requirements: military construction (MILCON), civil works, international and interagency services, real estate, regulatory, environmental services and emergency management support. For fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the District’s contracting team awarded more than $512.4 million in contracts in Hawaii and the Pacific Region.
Honolulu District is responsible for major military design and construction, civil works, international and interagency support, real estate services for the Army and Air Force, regulatory work, environmental services and emergency management. The District's current active program is valued at about $2 billion.
Asbery led a highly motivated staff in support of U.S. Army military construction, transformation and Army initiatives on Hawaii Army posts that included the renovation of several historic quadrangles (Quads) on Schofield Barracks. U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, Corps of Engineers and several contractors also joined forces under Asbery’s tenure to start and finish construction of two state-of-the-art LEED- certified energy-efficient barracks at Schofield Barracks. A third barracks at Helemano Military Reservation is slated to be completed in mid-2014.
During his tour, Honolulu District along with the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl and the American Battle Monuments Commission dedicated two new pavilions at the Honolulu Memorial. The District also celebrated the grand opening of the $11.4 million state-of-the-art learning center at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies at Fort DeRussy.
Under Asbery’s leadership, the District also began construction of a new Warrior in Transition barracks and complex at Schofield Barracks, a Child Development Center at Fort Shafter, phase one of the new Combat Aviation Brigade complex at Wheeler Army Airfield, and the first phase of six planned phases for the future headquarters of the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) Mission Control Facility at Fort Shafter. Ground breaking for the USARPAC facility was held in April 2012.
During his tenure, the District also continued military construction support for the Air Force at Hickam Airfield, including construction in support of Hickam’s F-22 aircraft program.
Honolulu District provided significant civil works support to the State of Hawaii during Asbery’s tour, including the signing of a $3 million cost-share agreement between the state of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the Corps to develop a watershed plan to support the West Maui “Ridge to Reef” Initiative. The initiative is one of the first efforts in the state to implement a comprehensive management strategy to address impacts to coral reefs across multiple watersheds.
In addition, Lt. Col. Asbery, in support of USACE Headquarters Emergency Management disaster requirements, initiated the deployment of 15 District personnel for emergency management support recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast U.S. during the winter months of 2012-2013.
Asbery was also the proponent for the establishment of a hands-on engineer officer professional development experience with the Corps for junior officers, development of a working relationship with two Wounded Warrior units: the Warrior Transition Battalion based at Schofield Barracks and the Marine Wounded Warrior Detachment based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe. The District supports the Wounded Warrior programs by allowing service members to gain valuable work experience as volunteers as they transition back into either the military or civilian life.
Asbery was also the proponent in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between Honolulu District and the government of American Samoa to formalize a partnership for the Corps to sponsor science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities in American Samoa schools.
Throughout his tour the District was also highly involved in State and local MATHCOUNTS competitions, participation in STEM outreach events such as the University of Hawaii-Manoa College of Engineering Career fairs, the annual Engineer Week, the Hawaii Science Olympiad, as well as many District personnel speaking at local schools.
In January 2013, the District welcomed home the 565th Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) from their high visibility and successful deployment in support of Overseas Contingency Operations in Afghanistan.
Crary will command an organization of about 300 engineers, scientists and support staff serving the Pacific Region, including Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Kwajalein.
Crary most recently served as the Deputy Corps Engineer for the 130th Engineer Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii while the brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also served as the Deputy Commander of the Corps’ San Francisco District. He served two years with the 4th Engineer Battalion, Fort Carson, Colo. as the Battalion Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer. Lt. Col. Crary was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1997 after earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He earned a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 2002.