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Halifax native takes command of Corps of Engineers District in Afghanistan

Col. Vincent Quarles, of Halifax assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South in a ceremony here July 12.

Army Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre, USACE Transatlantic Division commander, presided over the ceremony, in which command of the district passed to Quarles from Air Force Col. Ben Wham, of Charleston, S.C.

“Col. Wham and Col. Quarles represent the very best the Air Force and the Army have to offer in engineer leaders,” Eyre said. “They also represent the efforts and capabilities of so many others — the civilians and military personnel of the Transatlantic District-South.” 

During his introduction of Quarles, Eyre told the district’s employees and service members that they will be challenged and excited by the work ahead. “With Col. Quarles at the helm, I have no doubt that the district will continue to build on its widely recognized record of accomplishments.”

Quarles reports to the South District after earning a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy and participating in the Afghanistan and Pakistan Fellows Program at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. Before attending the Industrial College, Quarles commanded the USACE Chicago District from 2008 to 2011. 

“I know that delivering quality engineering projects and services here in Afghanistan has not been easy,” Quarles said. “The days ahead will be just as challenging as we work to award 50 or so new construction contracts by the end of this calendar year and place about $800 million in construction by the end of 2013.” 

Quarles said he will build upon Wham’s and the district’s successes.

“We are well-positioned to get this work done due to the outstanding efforts under the superb leadership of Ben Wham during the past year,” he said. “I know we will deliver these and other requirements while taking care of each other and sustaining solid relationships within and outside of our district family.”

Quarles began his military service in 1980 with the 113th Field Artillery Battalion (Army National Guard) while attending high school in his hometown of Halifax, Virginia. He remained the 113th after high school, while attending Norfolk State University. Upon graduating from Norfolk State University, he received a federal commission in the Corps of Engineers and entered active service in 1987.

Quarles’s previous overseas deployments include a tour in Bosnia Herzegovina with 3rd Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” from 2001 to 2001, and a tour in Iraq as commander of Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in 2005. 

Quarles is married to the former Auratha Richardson, his high school sweetheart. They have two children. Quarles is the son of John and Doris Quarles, who live in Halifax.