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Posted 10/5/2015

Release no. 15-054


By Stephen Satkowski
USACE-Far East District Public Affairs

SEOUL, South Korea - The Far East District welcomed a new Sergeant Major in August as Sgt. Maj. Robert Stanek came on board. Stanek brings decades of experience to the Corps having served in the Army since 1975.

A native of North Dakota, Stanek attended North Dakota State and graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. Shortly thereafter he went to work for the 3M Company in Minnesota, while continuing to serve in the Army National
Guard and later the Army Reserves.

His first assignment in the Army was in Korea in 1975.

“I wanted to end my Army career where it began,” said Stanek. “It was one of those things where karma all came together and it was just perfect timing.”

Throughout his Army career Stanek worked with engineering battalions, brigades, and while at the 416th Theater Engineer Command he worked quite often with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Army thought it would be a good match and I would fit the organization here with my background being an engineer on the civilian side and working in the engineer field on the Army Reserve side,” said Stanek.

Stanek said during his time at the Far East District he will emphasize on getting personnel gaps filled on the military side and ensure that everyone is recognized for the hard work they do when their tour of duty is complete.

“I want to make sure their awards are there, their documentation is right – especially on the military side,” said Stanek. “I want to get the people we need here and I think I have enough contacts that I can help and make the organization run smoother.”

In his short time with the district Stanek said he admires how the organization uses all facets of its workforce to get the job done.

“I have been very impressed in how we bring the Servicemembers, Department of the Army civilians, and Korean nationals into an organization that has succeeded as well as it has,” said Stanek.

This will be the third time Stanek will spend an extended amount of time in Korea. In 1988 he came to Seoul for a month to watch the Summer Olympics.

“In 1975 I learned some language skills, but not enough to be very fluent and I regretted that,” said Stanek. “When I came back in 1988 I spent almost a year learning Korean so I could be more conversational. This time around I didn’t have much time to study the language, but as soon as I got in country most of the language skills came back. It’s helped me.”

Stanek said he is looking forward to his last assignment in the Army here in the Land of the Morning Calm.

“Seeing how much this country has changed in the last 40 years is amazing and that is a testament to the hard work of the Korean people.