As he grew into a ‘self-described’ academic nerd with athletic abilities at New Fairfield High School, where he played baseball, Robert Nahabedian discovered his true passion was for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. He knew early on that he wanted to be an engineer.
He soon found his calling and his journey led him to West Point, New York, where he graduated from the United States Military Academy and was commissioned as an engineer officer in May 2003.
Years later, now a lieutenant colonel, Nahabedian continues his quest for challenges and traditions.
The Army recently provided him an opportunity to assume command as the 90th commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District on July 18, 2023.
“It’s my honor and distinct privilege to become the commander of the Charleston District,” he said. “I am very excited about being a part of this world-class organization, which, like the Lowcountry, is steeped in tradition and shares a rich and diverse heritage.”
Previously, he was the assistant operations officer at the Los Angeles District and the deputy program manager for the California and Arizona international border fence program in 2008 at the Los Angeles District’s Arizona/Nevada area office.
Years later from 2018-2020, he also served as the commander of the 59th Forward Engineer Support Team (FEST-A) at the Tulsa District and in Wiesbaden, Germany (HQ USAREUR-AF), developing critical projects across the span of eastern Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve and the European Deterrence Initiative.
“As a young captain at the Los Angeles District, I always had an ambition to be a district commander and Charleston was always at the top of my list,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “We still can’t believe we are here, and my family couldn’t be more thrilled!”
Nahabedian, who most recently served with the 1st German-Netherlands Corps in Münster, Germany as a policy staff officer, assumed command from Lt. Col. Andrew Johannes during a ceremony officiated by Brig. Gen. Daniel Hibner, commanding general, South Atlantic Division, USACE.
A devout family man, he learned early on from his parents what is important in life. He credits them for always being there for him, especially during his two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he faced many challenges.
He says it’s important to focus on and successfully accomplish the mission, but the odds of success go up when you are taking care of the people around you along the way.
One of Nahabedian’s key priorities for the District will be continuing to foster close relationships with local communities, stakeholders, and industry partners. Through proactive communication, he intends to ensure that the District’s projects align with the needs and aspirations of the region, leaving a lasting, positive impact.
“I look forward to meeting and working with all our stakeholders, partners, friends and citizens alike, to help us solve the nation’s toughest engineering challenges and continue to make South Carolina a great place to live, work and play. Please know my door is always open to those we serve,” said Nahabedian. “I know I have my work cut out for me, but I am committed to the success of South Carolina and the well-being of its citizens and our Charleston District team.”