VICKSBURG, Miss., September 15, 2014 – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General and 53rd Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick promoted Mississippi Valley Division Commander Brigadier General Mike Wehr to the rank of major general, September 12, in a ceremony at his alma mater Santa Clara University (California), which hosted the event.
Major General Wehr said he was proud to return to his alma mater for the ceremony that symbolizes the confidence senior officers, the Congress and the President have placed in his leadership.
Wehr was commissioned through the Santa Clara University's Reserve Officer Training Corps May 22, 1985, and received his bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering.
"This is where I met Deb, my wife and college sweetheart. She kept me focused. Without her I doubt I would have graduated in engineering. It feels great to come full circle back to the place and people who shaped me at an early age for the career that led to this day."
"I have learned that life is all about living, learning, loving, leaving a legacy and to defend when necessary," he said.
Wehr's wife, children and parents helped pin the two star insignia on his uniform and unfurl the two star flag.
Bostick said Maj. Gen. Wehr is now one of 10 major generals serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ceremony, called a "frocking", symbolizes the confidence that senior officers, the Congress and the President have placed in Wehr's leadership.
Bostick said that as a two star general Wehr now commands the Mississippi Valley Division, one of the Corps of Engineers most challenging assignments. The division manages inland navigation, flood risk reduction and emergency response and recovery for the Mississippi River -- the world's third largest watershed. In addition, Maj. Gen. Wehr oversees the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, the comprehensive flood control plan for the alluvial valley. He also serves as president-designee of the Mississippi River Commission.
It is a tremendous responsibility, Bostick said. The Mississippi River has more than 9,000 miles of navigable waterway. That is larger than all the rest of the world's navigable waterways combined. Most significantly the Mississippi flows through arable land, making it a highway for agricultural goods to feed the nation and the world.
Wehr's service as a combat engineer included the 14th Engineers, the 82nd Airborne (twice), the 92nd Engineers, as well as four combat tours. Within the Corps of Engineers, he served the Japan District, commanded the Vicksburg District, commanded the South Pacific Division, and most recently was the Theater Engineer for Afghanistan.
The Armed Services have a long-standing tradition of celebrating the promotion of its members to the next higher rank in a formal ceremony. This ceremony is a public indication of the increased responsibilities that the service member is about to assume. The ceremony demonstrates the confidence placed in him by senior officers, by Congress and by the President of the United States in his abilities to carry out these new responsibilities. Finally, this ceremony allows the family, friends and colleagues of the newly promoted service member the opportunity to celebrate and share in this hard-earned achievement.
Release no. 14-072