Colonel Philip M. Secrist III assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District, headquartered in Winchester, Va., on 22 August 2019. 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 this assignment, Colonel Secrist commanded the Transatlantic Division’s Mosul Dam Task Force, from June 2018 to June 2019. In this position, he led the management and execution of dam remediation efforts for Mosul Dam, Iraq, where he coordinated with senior representatives of the Government of Iraq, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army Central Command, Operation Inherent Resolve Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters, foreign militaries, intergovernmental agencies, and other key stakeholders and customers. Colonel Secrist was also responsible for providing logistics, force protection, life-support, and morale and welfare for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers soldiers, civilians, contractors, and host nation personnel working with the Mosul Dam team.
Colonel Secrist has held a variety of command and staff assignments including: Engineer Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Assistant Brigade Engineer in the 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Training and Plans Officer for the 130th Engineer Brigade, V Corps, Hanau, Germany; Charlie Company Commander, 54th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, Bamberg, Germany; Project Manager, USACE Sacramento District, Beale Air Force Base, California; and Operations Officer, Iraqi Provisional Command, USACE, Baghdad, during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) I. Upon reassignment to Fort Hood in 2005, he served as the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) Special Troops Battalion Training and Plans Officer and the 1st Brigade Engineer, 4ID, during OIF 2005-2007; 1st Brigade Rear Detachment Commander during OIF 2008-2009; 4ID Trail Party Commander responsible for transitioning the Division’s Soldiers, facilities and operations as it moved to Fort Carson, Colorado; and his final assignment at Fort Hood was as Director of the Heavy Brigade Combat Team Warfighters’ Forum, III Corps. Colonel Secrist also commanded the USACE Philadelphia District from 2010 to 2012, followed by his service as the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Engineer School and Regimental Headquarters, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and commanded the USACE Huntington District.
In 1991 Colonel Secrist was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Airborne School, Ranger School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Science and Technology, a Master’s of Science in Environmental Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech), and a Master’s of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star (two awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (five awards), the Army Commendation Medal (two awards), and the Army Achievement Medal (two awards).