U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District welcomes first female commander

Col. Estee S. Pinchasin

Posted on July 20, 2021

Col. Estee S. Pinchasin became the 69th commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, during a change of command ceremony at the Washington Aqueduct in Washington D.C., July 16, 2021.

Pinchasin, the first female leader of the Baltimore District, assumed command from Col. John T. Litz, who had served in the role since July 2018.

A native of Long Beach, New York, Pinchasin takes command of one the largest USACE districts, with a staff of approximately 1,200 personnel serving the mid-Atlantic region. The district’s area of responsibility spans the Susquehanna River, Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds, and 7,000 miles of coastline, which encompasses six states and Washington.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the people of the district and working together as a team with our partners,” said Pinchasin. “Their dedication and work ethic, combined with an unmistakable sense of duty, is truly inspiring. I know we will continue providing key services and support to the region, our stakeholders, and the public. I am excited to work closely with our partners to deliver unique and expansive programs and to see what we can achieve together.”

As commander and district engineer of Baltimore District, Pinchasin oversees a more than $1.5 billion annual undertaking of vital engineering, design, construction, real estate and water resources management solutions for an array of stakeholders, including federal, state, and defense activities and partners, local municipalities and 14 military installations.

Pinchasin also formally takes on the title of “Supervisor of the Harbor” for Baltimore Harbor, overseeing the USACE missions supporting the efficient operations of the Port of Baltimore — a significant regional economic engine.

This is Pinchasin’s third assignment with USACE. Previously, she was assigned to the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, deploying several times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. From January 2003 to July 2006, she served as the Battalion Logistics Officer, Commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Battalion Liaison Officer in Iraq, and Battalion Adjutant. Following graduate school and promotion to major, she served as the Area Engineer for the New York City Metro Area Office in the New York District. From New York, she deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, to serve as Area Officer-In-Charge for the Kandahar Area Office in Afghanistan Engineer District – South.

Prior to assuming command in Baltimore, she served as the Engineer Branch Chief in the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, from August 2018 to August 2020, overseeing the assignment and talent management of 4,300 active-duty Engineer Officers and Warrant Officers. Pinchasin commanded the 19th Engineer Battalion (Construction Effects) consisting of vertical and horizontal construction elements, bridging assets, combat engineers, and fire fighters at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Pinchasin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Boston University, Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Pinchasin also holds a Project Management Professional Certification.

Her awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Army Engineer Association’s Bronze de Fleury Medal.

Litz retires with more than 26 years of service to the nation after relinquishing command of Baltimore District.

The mission of USACE, Baltimore District, is to deliver vital engineering solutions in collaboration with its partners to serve and strengthen the nation, energize the economy, and reduce disaster risks. Of note, Baltimore District has an extensive flood risk management program in which it inspects nearly 150 miles of levee systems and operates 16 dams, translating to the prevention of more than $16 billion of flood damages to date. The district maintains 290 miles of federal channels, including dredging the Baltimore Harbor, from which most of the material is beneficially used for restoration missions, such as the expansion of Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay. The district has vast ecosystem for restoration missions that include restoring native oyster populations in the Bay. Baltimore District is the only district to operate a public utility — the Washington Aqueduct — that produces an average of 135 million gallons of drinking water per day at two treatment plants for approximately one million citizens living, working or visiting the National Capital Region. The district also cleans up formerly used defense sites, decommissions and deactivates former nuclear power plants, and performs cleanup of low-level radioactive waste from the nation’s early atomic weapons program. Baltimore District executes a robust military construction program and provides real estate services. These civil and military missions and diverse engineering services support communities and warfighters, while addressing the ever-growing list of emerging national security requirements, and ultimately protect the nation.

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