NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 7, 2017) – Lt. Col. Cullen A. Jones took command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District today during a change of command ceremony at the Tennessee National Guard Armory. He becomes the 65th commander of the famed “Twin Rivers” district in the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.
Jones comes to Nashville from the Portland District in Portland, Ore., where he served as deputy commander. As commander of the Nashville District, he assumes responsibility for managing the water resources development and navigable waterways operations for the Cumberland and Tennessee River basins covering 59,000 square miles, with 42 field offices touching seven states and a work force of over 700 employees.
“It is hard for me describe how excited I am to be part of this high performing organization as it strengthens the foundation, delivers the program, and achieves the Corps’ vision across parts of seven states, within the Tennessee River and Cumberland River basins, and for the nation,” Jones said. “Sharon and I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of the Nashville District and return to the Tennessee area. We are eager to get settled in, to contribute as part of this great community, and to make the most of this phenomenal opportunity.”
Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commander, officiated the change of command and said Jones comes to the Nashville District well prepared and with a wonderful reputation.
“The Nashville District is gaining another truly great leader in Cullen. I have heard nothing but great things about his abilities,” Toy said. “And he takes care of people. Everyone is important to him. He listens and takes action.”
Jones received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers in 1999. He has served in engineer leadership and staff positions in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and multiple locations in the United States. His military experience includes a variety of positions as a platoon leader, executive officer and battalion air officer, and as a multi-national Corps anti-terrorism and force protection engineer. He served as an assistant professor in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department at the United States Military Academy at West Point from 2010 to 2013.
Jones’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with an oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Kosovo Campaign Medal with a campaign star, NATO medals for Kosovo and Afghanistan, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Ranger Tab, Air Assault Badge and Master Parachutist Badge. He wears a Joint Meritorious Unit Award and is a recipient of the Army Engineer Association’s Bronze De Fleury Medal.
Jones earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Science degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a licensed professional civil engineer, project management professional, and a certified floodplain manager.
Jones and his wife Sharon have a son, Jameson, and daughter, Arden. His grandfather, Vernon Jones Sr., 99, a World War II veteran and glider infantryman from Delaware, watched him take command. His parents, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Clifford Jones (Vietnam War veteran and Tet Offensive survivor) and Carmella Jones from Delaware, and his brother Clifford Jones Jr., from Virginia, also attended.
The outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, said farewell to the district he commanded since June 2015. He noted that a Corps of Engineers general officer gave him some advice that helped shape his behavior during his tenure. The commander said the three most important words that can be said are “please” and “thank you.”
Murphy said while he could command compliance as commander, he found that simple courtesies like “please” and “thank you” made him a better leader and the Nashville District a better organization. He thanked senior leadership and the people who worked every day to support the important projects and missions that serve the region and the nation.
“It breaks my heart to leave command because I love this district,” Murphy said. “I love the people here. There are some incredible missions.”
Under Murphy’s tenure he worked to revive the $755 million Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project from a mothball state and resumed construction at the $1.25 billion Kentucky Lock Addition Project. He successfully led the team during the Mississippi River Commission inspection trip of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. He managed the first rehabilitation of a hydropower unit at Center Hill Dam, the first of 28 units in the Cumberland River Basin to be rehabilitated as a result of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Southeastern Power Administration and power customers. And he also led the charge as the Nashville District supported construction projects for the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
“Because of Stephen’s excellent leadership and relationship management skills, the support provided to NNSA continues to be a vibrant and growing partnership between the two agencies,” Toy said.
Toy stressed that Murphy’s dedication to the mission gave him credibility and respect with customer stakeholders and employees alike.
Murphy’s next assignment is with the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
For more news and information visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.