By Terri Kojima
USACE-POD Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii—Brig. Gen. Peter B. Andrysiak relinquished his position as commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pacific Ocean Division to Col. Thomas J. Tickner, during a change of command ceremony, July 27, at historic Palm Circle, here.
With the passing of the ceremonial flag, symbolizing the official change of command, Tickner became the 33rd commander of the Army Corps’ division serving the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. He now leads 1,500 military and Department of Army and host nation civilian engineers, technicians and other professionals in the annual execution of a multi-billion dollar program. Tickner is responsible for executing a mission that includes engineering design, construction and real estate management for the Army in Hawaii, Army and Air Force in Alaska, and for all armed services and Department of Defense agencies in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“To the Pacific Ocean Division—Alaska, Honolulu, Japan and Far East Districts--your reputation precedes you,” said Tickner. “I have watched your accomplishments from afar, and I am eager to become part of the POD team; it will be an honor and privilege to serve with you.”
Tickner has served in a variety of tactical, operational, and strategic assignments spanning a period of 26 years. He most recently served as Chief, Army Budget Liaison, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller. This follows his return from a one-year tour in Afghanistan, where he served as the Engineer Director for the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, hosted the ceremony and expressed his confidence in both Tickner and Andrysiak’s leadership.
"Today, on this field, we’re representing two of the senior engineer leaders—a couple of the best that the engineer regiment has,” said Semonite.
Semonite detailed some of Tickner’s diverse experiences, which convinced him that Tickner is perfectly suited for command of POD.
“The command of a division doesn’t happen by accident,” said Semonite. “I picked the best person to come down and command this particular division with all the different missions it has.”
Semonite, who previously worked with Tickner in various venues, spoke highly of Tickner’s capabilities and tenacity.
“First of all he is a combat engineer...second, he’s a technical engineer,” said Semonite. “I’ve known Tom when he was the commander of the (USACE) Philadelphia District, where he built a very contentious billion dollar program for a four-star command.”
As Semonite’s senior engineer for a critical mission in Afghanistan, Tickner demonstrated solid leadership qualities in working with the president of Afghanistan and senior Army leaders.
“So he has all the right traits and attributes, but what’s most important about Tom Tickner is his passion to deliver…to make sure that when we get a mission; we come through on that mission—that’s what Tom stands for.”
Semonite commended Andrysiak for expertly directing a full range of engineering capabilities to support the joint forces and the nation with focused and insightful leadership. Semonite said that the Pacific Ocean Division’s efforts and leadership are an important and positive component of our national strategy in this vital part of the world.
“Pete, what you have done is understand the PACOM (U.S. Pacific Command) and USARPAC (U.S. Army Pacific) priorities, and transmitted those priorities into actionable items that you could do with the POD capabilities,” said Semonite. “You’ve done an outstanding job!”
During his tenure, Andrysiak set the division’s new operational approach, including major lines of efforts that emphasized the workforce’s role as integrators.
“We integrate and employ engineer capabilities in support of joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) operations and actions,” said Andrysiak. “Our challenge in the PACOM area of responsibility is to find ways to enable access, posture and protection in an effort to promote security, deter aggression…in a complex and diverse region.”
Andrysiak reflected on some of the most recent accomplishments of POD in support of national security, as well as projects that build and protect the nation’s water resources, environmental stewardship and disaster preparedness; and he was quick to credit the workforce for the successes.
“This is just a brief summary of what this talented group of USACE employees do for our Nation and the JIIM team in the PACOM AOR,” said Andrysiak. “They are what I will miss the most about POD.”
The outgoing commander described the moment as bittersweet.
“I have had the good fortune to be part of a very unique and far reaching mission, and, more importantly, I got the opportunity to serve with and learn from an exceptional team of military and DA civilians, who put their heart and soul into their work every day,” said Andrysiak. “Every day has truly been an education…an education in an organization that is part of an engineering enterprise whose vision is to deliver engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges.”
Andrysiak moves on to serve as Deputy Commanding General-Support for the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.