JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, VIRGINIA >> Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, a 1975 graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School, assumed command as the 54th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on May 19.
He was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in a ceremony preceding the change of command.
"I'm excited to assume the role of the Chief of Engineers and the command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Semonite said during the change of command ceremony. "The value of USACE is not in the facilities and the waterways we build and maintain. It is not measured by concrete and steel, nor by miles of combat routes cleared. It is measured by the passion in the hearts of our engineer force. Our talented and dedicated people are truly the most important component of the command."
As the Chief of Engineers, Semonite is the principal adviser to the Secretary of the Army and other principal officials on matters of engineering, construction, real property, and natural resources management for the Department of the Army. As the USACE commanding general, he leads more than 32,000 civilian employees and 700 military personnel who provide project management, construction support, science and engineering expertise in more than 110 countries around the world.
USACE provides vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters. Services include providing facilities where service members train, work and live, responding to disasters and emergencies, researching and developing technologies, making waterways passable, reducing flooding, sustaining natural resources, and providing outdoor recreation environments.
Semonite has served in a variety of command and staff positions across USACE.
Before commanding USACE, Semonite was the commanding general for Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, responsible for building the Afghan Army and Police by managing a $13 billion budget to support a force of 352,000 people.
Semonite holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont, a Master of Military Arts and Sciences from the Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the Army War College. He is also a graduate of the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses.
He and his wife, Connie Semonite, own a vacation home in Bellows Falls and they enjoy visiting Vermont frequently. Todd is the son of Bill and Jeanne Semonite, formerly of Bellows Falls. Todd and Connie have four adult children and two grandchildren.
Bernard Tate is a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He can be contacted at Bernard.firstname.lastname@example.org.