BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN – A Fort Worth District, US Army Corps of Engineers employee currently deployed to Afghanistan received one of the highest honors bestowed within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at a ceremony on Bagram Airfield Apr. 7.
Arnold “Rob” Newman, who now serves as the deputy chief for the Programs and Project Management Division (PPMD), and program manager for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (AIF) for the USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District (TAA), was presented with the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal by Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, USACE commander and the Chief of Engineers.
“It’s a very humbling experience. I feel extremely grateful to work with a great group of people who make my job easier,” Newman said. “Everything we accomplish is a team effort, especially in a contingent environment like Afghanistan. To be nominated from your peers and receive an award like this makes you feel proud to work for USACE.”
This is Newman’s first deployment to a combat zone. He came to USACE-TAA in April 2016 from USACE’s Fort Worth District where he serves as the deputy director for the Regional Planning and Environmental Center.
“Rob has been an outstanding leader within the District and when the call came to support operations abroad, he answered the call without hesitation,” said Col. Calvin C. Hudson, II, the Fort Worth District commander. “He embodies what the de Fleury symbolizes; a lifetime of service and significant contributions to USACE.”
The de Fleury medal is named for a French engineer Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury; who volunteered to serve with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. At the Battle of Stony Point, New York, in 1779, De Fleury was in command of a battalion of the 1st Regiment of the Corps of Light Infantry. He led an American charge up a rocky slope to retake the outpost on the point. The first over the wall, de Fleury rushed to flag pole, cutting the British colors from their staff, turning the tide of the battle. For his actions, the Continental Congress awarded a medal struck in de Fleury's honor. It is believed that the de Fleury Medal was the first Congressional Medal produced.
As the AIF program manager, Newman oversees the planning, design, and construction of the $400 million AIF Program which includes electrical transmission, irrigation, and road infrastructure projects throughout Afghanistan. As the deputy chief of PPMD, he helps plan and execute a $1.2 billion construction program to support U.S. and coalition troops, the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces, and the Afghanistan people.
“With agriculture representing 90 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of Helmand Province, overseeing the construction of the Kajaki Irrigation Project which will ultimately provide reliable irrigation water to farmers in the southern part of the country is a great accomplishment,” added Newman.
There are four levels of the de Fleury Medal: steel, bronze, silver and gold. Only one gold medal is awarded each year by the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers.
About the Fort Worth District: The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was established in 1950. The District is responsible for water resources development in two-thirds of Texas, and design and construction at military installations in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico. Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: www.swf.usace.army.mil and SWF Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/usacefortworth/.