Col. Paul Culberson

Commander and District Engineer

Published Sept. 18, 2020

As Commander and District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District Colonel Paul Culberson is responsible for water resources development in the Chicago metropolitan area, upper Illinois River watershed, Lake Michigan watershed in Wisconsin and the upper Wabash River watershed In Indiana – an area of about 31,500 square miles.

The District delivers vital engineering services through flood and coastal storm risk management, navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, regulatory, emergency management, recreation and interagency support services.

Prior to assuming command of the Chicago District, Colonel Culberson served as the Commander of Task Force Essayons, a forward deployed Engineer Task Force responsible for providing oversight of USACE support to the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

Colonel Culberson was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers through ROTC from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1996. He attended Louisiana State University and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1999 and entered active duty service. He has had a long and distinguished career, serving in a multitude of assignments over the years. He started his career with the 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Baumholder, Germany, where he served as a Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer and Assistant Brigade Engineer. Following that assignment, he served as the Division Engineer for the 101st Airborne Division with service in Iraq from 2003-2004. He later served from 2004-2006 as the Company Commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division, with service again in Iraq. From 2006-2007 and again from 2008-2009, he served as the Operations Officer for the Australian 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, and from 2007-2008, he served as the Task Force Lead Planner for the Australian Reconstruction Task Force 3 in Afghanistan.

After attending Intermediate Level Education at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Colonel Culberson served as the Operations Officer and Executive Officer for the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (Airborne), 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, with service in Afghanistan from 2010-2012, and from 2012-2013 he served as the Secretary of the General Staff for U.S. Army Alaska. From 2013-2015, he served as the Professor of Military Science at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. From 2015-2017, he served as the Commander of the 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division with service in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Prior to attending the U.S. Naval War College, he served as the Senior Engineer Battalion Trainer at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Colonel Culberson holds an Associates of Arts Degree from New Mexico Military Institute, Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University and A&M College, Masters of Science Degree in Geological Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Masters of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and is a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval War College. 

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster), NATO Medal and the De Fleury Medal. He has also earned the Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, and Canadian Jump Wings.