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Related Story Spotlight: Lt. Col. Timika Wilson

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Posted 2/28/2016

Release no. 16-020


By Stephen Satkowski

USACE Far East District Public Affairs

 

Lt. Col. Timika Wilson, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District, has had Army in her blood her whole life. Born on an American military installation in Germany, her father and Aunt spent more than 20 years serving their country, with both retiring from the Army and her sister served in the Air Force and continues to serve in the civil service as a contracting flight chief.

“I would love to follow in their footsteps,” said Wilson. “They were a very big influence on my choices to stay in the military once I got in. All I’ve known my entire life is the military.”

A graduate of Clemson University, she attended with the help of an Army ROTC scholarship completing her undergraduate degree in ceramic engineering before being commissioned in 1997. She later completed her masters in science in engineering management from University of Missouri-Rolla.

Her career has touched on many different aspects of the Army. She has held positions as a platoon leader in an engineer battalion, recruiting company commander and deployed to southwest Asia as a division engineer planner.

“The best advice I got in the military was to do different jobs,” said Wilson. “Don’t be afraid to do the job that someone else doesn’t want to do.”

She said that advice prepared her mindset and provided her with an array of experiences and challenges that made her a better officer. One of those challenges was serving as a company commander in a recruiting battalion.

“I heard General Officers say it was one of the toughest jobs they had in the military and I couldn’t agree more,” said Wilson. “Not a lot of officers get to do recruiting and have that experience. It’s a tough job, but seeing a person raise their right hand and sign on the dotted line and take that next step into maturity was very fulfilling.”

As an engineer officer in the Army, she had always wanted to join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). That dream came close to becoming a reality when she worked closely with the Corps as a customer with Transatlantic Division and Middle East District, completing charrettes in the continental United States and in Afghanistan as the Army Central Action Officer for Operation Enduring Freedom, military construction programming. The opportunity to work for USACE presented itself in 2013 when she served as the Commander of the 71st Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) North Atlantic Division, and Baltimore District, USACE completing a six-month deployment to Jordan, before coming to the Far East District.

“When I came here I wanted to influence and impact the district to be better,” said Wilson. “Wherever you go you want to leave something better than you found it. The district was already at 95%. I want to take it to 98%”

She identified communication as sometimes being a challenge in an organization that is spread out as much as the Far East District and with a workforce that is multi-cultural, but said a career broadening assignment like this can only enhance your resume and career.

“Working here can provide you with an opportunity you may not get somewhere else,” said Wilson. “You are overseas, so you’re operating slightly differently and there are different challenges than other districts. These challenges will distinguish you and make you a better engineer, resource manager and public affairs director.”

Wilson said the deputy commander position has been the culmination of a career that has come full circle.

“I can tell you what it means to bring someone in the Army and train them up, what it takes to be in the military and eventually what it will take to transition to civilian service,” said Wilson.

Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). That dream came close to becoming a reality when she worked closely with the Corps as a customer with Transatlantic Division and Middle East District, completing charrettes in the continental United States and in Afghanistan as the Army Central Action Officer for Operation Enduring Freedom, military construction programming. The opportunity to work for USACE presented itself in 2013 when she served as the Commander of the 71st Engineer Detachment Forward Engineer Support Team-Advance (FEST-A) North Atlantic Division, and Baltimore District, USACE completing a six-month deployment to Jordan, before coming to the Far East District.

“When I came here I wanted to influence and impact the district to be better,” said Wilson. “Wherever you go you want to leave something better than you found it. The district was already at 95%. I want to take it to 98%”

She identified communication as sometimes being a challenge in an organization that is spread out as much as the Far East District and with a workforce that is multi-cultural, but said a career broadening assignment like this can only enhance your resume and career.

“Working here can provide you with an opportunity you may not get somewhere else,” said Wilson. “You are overseas, so you’re operating slightly differently and there are different challenges than other districts. These challenges will distinguish you and make you a better engineer, resource manager and public affairs director.”

Wilson said the deputy commander position has been the culmination of a career that has come full circle.

“I can tell you what it means to bring someone in the Army and train them up, what it takes to be in the military and eventually what it will take to transition to civilian service,” said Wilson.

Wilson will continue her career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this summer when she will become deputy commander at the Jacksonville district.