Litz ready to lead Charleston District with Chamberlayne's 'momentum'

  • Friday, July 12, 2013

Lt. Col. John Litz has been working with Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne for about a year to transition the shift in command of the Charleston District’s head. COURTESY OF SARA CORBETT, USACE

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Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne had a good last day of work. The outgoing district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District highlighted the change of command ceremony at The Citadel on Thursday afternoon with comedy and emotion.

Chamberlayne, who earned his bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees at Virginia Tech, took jabs at those with Clemson ties, while making sure to thank the influential folks in the Buyer Auditorium. He sat on stage with incoming district commander Lt. Col. John Litz and Brig. Gen. Donald Jackson, Jr. but rarely shared their solemn faces during the ceremony. Instead, he smiled and pointed at his 11-year-old son, Eddie, raised an eyebrow at his family and stepped out of formation to shake hands with the person who performed the opening prayer.

It was his party, and he made sure to enjoy it.

“Imma do it,” he said emphatically a couple times, fighting back tears while thanking his family during the ceremony. Chamberlayne reduced the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Feasibility Study costs from $18-20 million to less than $13 million and reduced the study timeline from five to eight years to less than four.

He received the Order of the Palmetto, which is considered the state's highest civilian honor. Before Chamberlayne, the only military personnel who had received it was Adm. Jacob L. Shuford. The Order of the Palmetto is given to someone for his or her lifetime achievements to better South Carolina. Chamberlayne served Charleston District for two years.

“We'll miss you,” Jackson, commander of the Corps' South Atlantic Division, said during his speech, “but, we're better off having served with you.”

Chamberlayne leaves for the Pentagon to work in the Office of the Chief of Engineers. It's move No. 11 in his Army career. Litz, who moved to Mount Pleasant after a strong recommendation from Chamberlayne, has moved eight times for the Army.

“Ed has done a lot of good things, and he has built a great team,” Litz said after the ceremony. “The only thing that changes today is the commander, and I fully intend to capitalize on the momentum that the district already has.”

Litz, who joins the already heavily Tiger-represented district office, received his master's degree in civil engineering from Clemson. His previous assignment was at Fort Benning, Ga. as the Deputy Commanding Officer of the 199th Infantry Brigade. His military background includes several deployments overseas, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, He becomes the Charleston District's 85th commander.

Litz called his new job an “enormous priviledge and responsibility.” He will serve until the summer of 2015 before being reassigned in the Army ranks.

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