WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) held a change of command and retirement ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Oct. 19.
Rear Adm. John W. Korka relieved Rear Adm. Bret J. Muilenburg and became the 45th commander of NAVFAC and chief of Civil Engineers. Before the ceremony, Korka was promoted to rear admiral (upper half) by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William F. Moran.
In his remarks, Moran praised Muilenburg and Korka for their experience and resolve.
“Both Bret and John exemplify the can-do spirit that defines what it means to be a civil engineer and a Seabee,” said Moran. “Doing the impossible takes determination.... It takes leaders who free up, inspire, create space and empower their teams at every level, leaders who remain steadfast to their Sailors, men and women who get the job done with the resources they have, even in times when we don’t give them everything they deserve. It takes a person like Bret, someone who’s experienced command at all levels, in and out of combat, on more than a few occasions. Bret made the impossible, possible.”
Of Korka, Moran remarked, “You come with a wealth of background and experience, numerous commands in our Navy, serving the Navy and Marine Corps, most recently in Hawaii, where you knocked it out of the park.”
Muilenburg was commissioned a Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984. His extensive educational background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University, and Master of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University. In addition, Muilenburg completed the Executive Education Advanced Program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps, and a qualified Seabee combat warfare officer.
Muilenburg’s operational tours of duty include assignments with Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 62, 133 and 7, along with the 30th Naval Construction Regiment. He also served as Task Force Forager commander and theater engineer for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command in Afghanistan.
Muilenburg, who assumed duties as commander, NAVFAC and chief of Civil Engineers on Nov. 4, 2015, reflected on his time with NAVFAC.
“I think NAVFAC, and the Naval Construction Force family, many of whom are here, are an extraordinary asset to our nation. Serving as their commander and 44th chief of Civil Engineers for the past three years, has been my absolute privilege. The combined total force of CEC officers, enlisted Seabees and NAVFAC civilians are the backbone of a shore engineer establishment that protects our homeland and our strategic interests abroad,” Muilenburg said. “John, congratulations on your promotion today, it looks great on you. I’m very pleased that I can turn NAVFAC over to you. NAVFAC, the Navy and the shore engineering community are in very good hands,” Muilenburg concluded.
The son of a Navy master chief petty officer, Korka was born in Rota, Spain. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in 1986 and commissioned an ensign through the Navy’s Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science in National Strategy Resources from the National Defense University Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and is a graduate of the Executive Advance Management Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Korka is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps and qualified as a Seabee combat warfare and surface warfare officer.
Korka’s previous flag assignment included commander, NAVFAC, Pacific and fleet civil engineer, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He assumed duties as commander, NAVFAC and 45th chief of Civil Engineers on Oct 19, 2018.
“Without question, we will always lead with integrity, trust and transparency,” Korka said. “I’m extremely honored and humbled to lead and serve our Civil Engineer Corps and civilian employees. I look forward to working side by side with this incredible group of talented professionals and can’t wait to get out and about and started."
NAVFAC remains the shore facilities systems command that delivers its products and services per CNIC priorities and requirements, and CNIC/OPNAV/tenant command resourcing.
For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navfachq/.