A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Fort Worth District employee, currently deployed to Afghanistan with USACE-Transatlantic Afghanistan District, has been awarded one of the highest honors bestowed within the Corps of Engineers. Charles “Lon” Webster, assistant district counsel, was presented with the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal June 1.
“I was very surprised, to say the least,” Webster said. “The de Fleury medal is a wonderful award and I never expected such an honor.”
Webster first joined the Fort Worth District in March 1992, as an assistant district counsel where he specialized in contracts and trial work. He deployed to Afghanistan in August 2014, as the chief counsel for USACE-TAA.
His commander in Afghanistan considers Webster one of his “all-stars.”
“Lon has superbly served us in a way that most people are not even aware of,” said Col. Pete Helmlinger, commander, USACE-TAA. “In his quiet, professional, tireless, and thorough manner, he has provided expert counsel facilitating construction of significant projects.
“He has also saved the U.S. government millions of dollars in litigation, greatly improved efficiency, and repeatedly increased public confidence and upheld the superb reputation of the Corps of Engineers,” Helmlinger added. “Coupled with his selfless service to our nation in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom's Sentinel, it is all together fitting that he be recognized with the de Fleury medal.”
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.
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.
During his 23-year career with USACE Webster has also served with the Tulsa and Philadelphia districts. He considers his work a life-long passion that has afforded him the opportunity to be a part of something that impacts the lives of so many people now and into the future.
“The Corps of Engineers has been, and continues to be, a magnificent place to invest a career,” Webster said. “I am proud to work for an agency that undertakes so many difficult projects on behalf of both our own country and other allied nations. In my opinion, the caliber of the Corps' civilian employees is unparalleled in the Federal service, and its military personnel are outstanding.”
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.
“The de Fleury Medal is presented to individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the Engineer Regiment in a variety of positions and locations,” Helmlinger said. “It recognizes the very best of Army engineering.”
“As a lawyer for USACE and a long-time student of military history, being recognized by the Engineer Regiment in such a significant manner is extremely meaningful for me,” Webster said. “The Corps of Engineers has been, and continues to be, a magnificent place to invest a career.”