Colonel Stephen H. Bales

Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District

Published June 5, 2018

Colonel Stephen H. Bales assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District, headquartered in Winchester, Va., on August 23, 2017.

The Middle East District is responsible for providing engineering, construction, and related services in the Middle East, Central Asia, and other areas as required. Its work includes designing and constructing facilities for use by U.S. forces, performing engineering activities for other U.S. government and foreign agencies, and providing operations and maintenance services for various customers. In addition, the district provides project management, engineering, contracting and support services to the USACE district in Afghanistan.

Before assuming command, Colonel Bales served two years as the Commander of the USACE Far East District Engineer from July 2015 to July 2017, responsible for planning, engineering, design, and construction management services across the full spectrum of operations from armistice to contingency in support of the Department of Defense and U.S. Forces in the Republic of Korea, leading a workforce of more than 500 military, U.S., and Korean National employees executing an overall program in excess of $10 billion.

Throughout his military career, Col. Bales has held numerous leadership and staff positions, starting with his first duty assignment in Korea as platoon leader in the 44th Engineer Battalion. His other assignments included leadership assignments at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded Alpha Company, 37th Engineer Battalion; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Riley, Kan.  He served for two years as an Exchange Officer in Townsville, Australia, while assigned to HQs 25th Infantry Division.

Following his tour in Australia, he was a Small Group Instructor and Concepts Officer at the U.S. Army Engineer School. After completing Command and General Staff College, Col. Bales relocated to Fort Bliss, where he deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as the Executive Officer for the Special Troops Battalion and BCT Engineer, 4th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division. Following this assignment, Col. Bales was Deputy Commander for the United States Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District and then assumed command of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District.

Following this assignment, he deployed as deputy commander for the Transatlantic Division South District in Afghanistan. Upon returning from Afghanistan, Col. Bales was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division as the Division Engineer and Deputy Chief-of-Staff.

Col. Bales graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1991, where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. Col. Bales’ military education also includes Airborne School, the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Scout Platoon Leaders Course, the Strategic Deployment School, the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Battalion Motor Officer Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Jumpmaster School, Command and General Staff College, and the Joint Planning Course. Col. Bales recently graduated from the United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

Col. Bales’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Army Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon; the Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO service medal, the Parachutist Badge, and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal.