It’s a long road from private to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, a road filled with highs and lows, twists and turns.
For Lt. Col. Joshua Haynes, it’s also been a road traveled with the help of family, friends and mentorships.
One such friend and mentor is Maj. Gen. Kimberly Colloton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations. The two first met when Haynes was a captain.
Now Colloton found herself presiding over a ceremony at the Fort Worth Club, Nov. 6, 2023, during which time Haynes was being promoted from major to lieutenant colonel.
“This is a really special event, and it’s truly an honor to be here to be able to promote one of our very best engineers to the rank of lieutenant colonel,” said Colloton. “The Army doesn’t hand out promotions for what you have already accomplished. Rather you've been selected for this rank for what our nation needs from you now, and into the future.”
For Haynes, who has served as the deputy district commander for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District since August of 2022, this is not his first meeting with Gen. Colloton. The two first met at Joint Base Lewis McChord when Haynes was a freshly pinned captain. He was the only staff engineer in 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team – 2nd Infantry Division and was challenged to execute the guidance of the operations and executive officers on the staff. So, he went to find assistance.
“I walked into the headquarters 555th Engineer Brigade and I looked for anyone that was sitting at their desk, and said ‘I need help,’” Haynes said, remembering that first encounter.
It just so happened that it was Colloton who was sitting at their desk. She asked how she could help to which Haynes, being brutally honest, stated he wasn’t sure what he needed to do as the only engineer on the brigade staff. And that started the working lunches where she coached him on what he should be doing and placed him on a road to future success.
A decade later, when Haynes arrived for duty with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Division, he was directed to see the commanding general to receive a briefing. It just so happened that the commanding general was Gen. Colloton.
“She asked me what I thought I was doing in the new assignment,” Haynes said. To which he listed all the known projects and significant customers that he would be working with while in Jordan.
Colloton simply responded with, “Yeah, but I need you to do this instead.”
This included significant tasks such as building a relationship that needed to be built between the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. Colloton went on to explain that Jordan was, and still is, a strategic ally and an important country to the U.S.
“That has been a reoccurring theme of getting help from others,” said Haynes.
Having the opportunity to learn from others every day has been important to Haynes throughout his career. He gives credit for his success to this point to those he has met and the duty stations he has been assigned to.
“I know that the Amy will continue to select Josh for increased responsibility, and he will command somewhere,” said Colloton. “We will continue to witness his humble hard working and servant leadership and the values that grew from those first foundational blocks that were laid down in Kansas.”
What lies ahead in this next chapter, no one knows. But one thing is for sure, Haynes is ready to mentor the leaders of tomorrow.