NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 2, 2017) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District said farewell to the deputy commander today, but not before the commander promoted Maj. Christopher Burkhart to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, officiated the promotion and then presented the U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal to Burkhart, recognizing his distinguished service as deputy commander during a ceremony in the Tennessee Room at the district headquarters.
“Working with our human resources team, Chris was instrumental in improving our staffing process,” Jones said. “We’re now at about 100 percent staffing, and through that, that has had not only an impact at the district, but also at the regional level.”
Jones said the district now has the people it needs to execute the critical missions that are accomplished on a daily basis, which wouldn’t have been possible without Burkhart’s direction and guidance.
The commander also lauded Burkhart’s efforts to supervise the support staff, improve new employee orientation, to promote fitness, wellness and health activities for employees, and for building stronger relationships with active duty, guard and reserve military units in the region.
Burkhart worked with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., to utilize the old Lock C on the Cumberland River for logistic requirements of the Army, which directly supports readiness.
“So he’s actually helping impact and improve overall national security, so the ‘101’ can go get it done whenever they need to,” Jones said.
The commander, who took command this summer, said he appreciates the solid foundation that Burkhart set for him when he came onboard to the organization.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better deputy coming in,” Jones said. “In a period of transition, and a turnover in the corporate board, he was that steady state and organizational knowledge and vision that I relied on.”
Burkhart became the deputy commander in July 2015. He assisted Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, the previous commander, and Jones in directing all the water resource activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the Cumberland River Basin, and navigation and regulatory matters in the Tennessee River Basin, an area of more than 59,000 square miles, with 49 field offices touching seven states and a work force of over 700 federal employees.
Burkhart’s wife Constance and three children, parents Peter and Laura Burkhart, and in laws James and Dottie Kay attended the promotion and farewell ceremony. His wife, who received a certificate of appreciation, spoke about the impact of the Nashville District and appreciation for the time spent in Nashville.
Constance said she grew up in Williamsburg, Ky., where the Nashville District built a flood wall on the shoreline of the Cumberland River in the 1990s, and so she recognizes from her childhood experience the importance of her husband’s job during his assignment with the Corps of Engineers in Nashville.
“It impacted our lives there for the better… and the downtown was no longer in danger of being flooded. I’ve had this connection with the Nashville District long before I knew there was a Nashville District,” Constance said. “Thank you so much for welcoming us and letting us be a part of your family for a little while.”
Burkhart recognized that his successes are only possible because of his wife and her love and support that has strengthened him throughout his Army career.
As a local native, he graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Civil Engineering 2001 and received his commission. So being close to home and his large family in Tennessee during this assignment was really enjoyable, he said.
The deputy commander also noted that it’s been great serving with the men and women of the Nashville District, and thanked everyone for their professionalism and hard work on behalf of the nation. He said it is tough to leave a job that he enjoys so much.
“I guess this is a perfect example of bittersweet,” Burkhart said. “Getting promoted is awesome, but having to be up here for a farewell is sad.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on 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.