Port Gibson native takes command of US Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division

Published 5:28 pm Sunday, August 15, 2021

SAUSALITO, Calif. — Colonel Antoinette “Toni” Gant, a native of Port Gibson, Miss., assumed command of the US Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division from Brigadier General Paul Owen in a ceremony at the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, Calif., on July 9, 2021. She is the first African American female to ever serve at this level in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division provides vital engineering solutions in collaboration with partners to secure the nation, energize the economy and reduce risk from disaster. South Pacific Division operates in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and in parts of Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas that includes 1,100 miles of coastline, 3.9 million acres of estuarine wetlands, 2,290 miles of federal levees and 46 dams and reservoirs. Most recently, South Pacific Division responded to the COVID-19 pandemic working with partner agencies to establish eight alternate care facilities across eight states.

As commander of South Pacific Division, Gant oversees water resources, military construction, environmental stewardship and restoration and emergency management with a workforce of 2,500 civilians and military personnel in five districts across the 10 states.

“It is an incredible honor and a tremendous privilege for me to assume command as the Division Commander,” Gant said during the ceremony. “My vision is quite simple. We will continue to invest in our people as we deliver our program by revolutionizing our processes while discovering the endless possibilities that we, the South Pacific Division, have to offer.”

Presiding over the change of command was Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters. In conjunction with the Change of Command ceremony, Spellmon conducted a retirement ceremony for Owen, who served 31 years of active duty in the U.S. Army.

Gant graduated from Prairie View A&M University in Texas as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a commission in the Engineer Regiment. She holds a Master of Science in Engineer Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri, and a Master of Science in national resource strategy from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.

Gant has lived in 11 states and two countries serving in an array of positions. She has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and in 2016, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel serving as the engineer for the Resolute Support and OFS headquarters, a four-star coalition headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A strong advocate for STEM, Gant has worked to develop partnerships with agencies and organizations to promote science, technology, engineering, and math initiatives. She has received several national and community awards, to include 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Conference Awards (BEYA) Army Stars and Stripes Award recipient, the 2020 Women of Color Career Achievement in Government Award, the YWCA Women on the Move Award, Women of Influence in Government by Albuquerque Business First, BEYA Special Recognition Award, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., South Central Region Visionary Leader and Global Leader Awards.

Gant’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. She is also a recipient of the Army Staff Identification Badge, Recruiter Badge, and the Army Engineer Association Silver de Fleury Medal. Gant is a certified Project Management Institute project management professional.

Gant is the daughter of Senator Albert Butler and Dr. Malinda Butler of Port Gibson, Miss. She and her husband of 26 years, Mr. Leonard Gant, have two children: daughter Lauryn and son Leonard II.