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First commander of Task Force USVI and Puerto Rico is appointed

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), South Atlantic Division (SAD), has appointed Col. Charles L. Decker as the inaugural commander of the Task Force U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (TF VIPR). The assumption-of-command ceremony took place at Fort Buchanan, the U.S. Army installation in San Juan, presided by Brig. Gen. Daniel Hibner, the commanding general of SAD.

In April, the USACE chief of engineers approved SAD’s proposal to “stand up,” or create, TF VIPR to provide leadership and support for public infrastructure projects in the USVI and Puerto Rico. The establishment of TF VIPR is seen as crucial to managing disaster reconstruction activities in the region, in addition to “improving workload balance,” according to an article on the U.S. Department of Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the very first commander of Task Force VIPR,” said Decker, a veteran with more than 26 years of leadership experience. “There is no other team, no other mission and no other place that I would rather be serving.”

Decker’s service history includes acting as the Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) Plans officer for the 1st Mission Support Command in Fort Buchanan and commanding the 841st Engineer Battalion in Miami. 

The officer previously served with the USACE in such positions as the deputy chief of staff for Personnel and Sustainment to an area command and as a program liaison officer for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala.

As the commander of TF VIPR, Decker emphasized the importance of building trust and encouraging professional growth within the task force. 

“We are all looking to the future with excitement as we continue building a foundation of trust with our communities, growing a Task Force full of talented professionals, and finding creative ways to solve our complex problems,” he explained.

“TF VIPR will have a dedicated and focused team that will sustain and build relationships with all stakeholders through effective, proactive, synchronized communications while efficiently executing their programs,” the DVIDS story added.

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