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National Hispanic Heritage Month

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, the Corps of Engineers recognizes Hispanic Americans’ contributions to the Nation and celebrates their culture and heritage.

This year’s theme is: “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”

The theme invites us to reflect on Hispanic American’s tradition, history and culture. Hispanic-Americans have had a profound and positive influence on our country through strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service.

Today, thousands of Hispanic-Americans serve in our civilian and military ranks to protect our nation. Whether their origins can be traced to Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, or one of dozens of other Spanish-speaking countries or cultures, they have defended America with unwavering valor and honor since the Civil War.

Within the Army Corps of Engineers, we have slightly less than a thousand members of Hispanic descent, and around 100 within the Southwestern Division. They serve in a wide variety of positions, across all career fields and pay grades, both civilian and in military uniform.

Our Army is decorated with over 60 Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipients. In fact, 1959 West Point graduate, Captain Humbert “Rocky” Versace, posthumously received the award in 2002. Versace fought severely wounded until he was captured, tortured and abused for 23 months. During captivity he attempted to escape four times before he was isolated from other prisoners of war and ultimately executed. The last time his fellow soldiers heard his voice, he was singing “God Bless America.”

Our Nation’s strength comes from our diversity and Hispanic-Americans are a big part of that. This month we pay tribute and salute our proud Hispanic Heritage.

Mission → People → Teamwork              PACESETTERS


Paul E. Owen, P.E.
Brigadier General, US Army Corps of Engineers
Commander, Southwestern Division

Corps of Engineers employee earns prestigious award for service in Ukraine

Col. Christopher A Hussin, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, presents Edward N. Johnson (center) the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his performance while serving as a senior strategic communications advisor to Ukraine’s Minster of Defense from 2016 to 2017. Johnson’s father Harvey (left) was also in attendance during the ceremony. The Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the second highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army or a major Army commander to civilian personnel.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee Edward N. Johnson was presented the Meritorious Civilian Service Award by Col. Christopher A Hussin here Sept. 12, for his accomplishments while deployed as a senior strategic communications advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense from 2016 to 2017.

The Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the second highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army or a major Army commander to civilian personnel.

According to Dr. Coyt Hargus, a former Army Special Forces commander and Senior U.S. Defense Advisor in Ukraine, Johnson was well deserving of the award for his success in leading U.S. efforts to strengthen the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ strategic communication’s capacity to counter Russian-backed hybrid warfare operations.

Edward N. Johnson (fourth from the right, front) poses for a group photo with Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and members of the local community in the City of Mangush, Ukraine, July 31, 2017, following a day of strategic communications training. The purpose of the event was to provide advice and assistance to Ukrainian military personnel on tactics and techniques to counter Russian-backed hybrid warfare operations in the region.

“Mr. Johnson provided outstanding support and strategic communications expertise to Ukraine’s Minister of Defense as well as members of their Presidential Administration and front-line commanders during his 12-month tour of duty in Ukraine,” said Hargus. “His tireless efforts and commitment to the mission had a direct impact in helping bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity while combating Russian aggression in the information domain.”

Johnson, who has since returned to his stateside job as public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, expressed great pride in being part of the advisory group sent to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Edward N. Johnson, Chief, Public Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we accomplished in partnership with our Ukrainian counterparts,” said Johnson. “It was a once in a lifetime experience and I would definitely encourage anyone considering a deployment to Ukraine to go for it.”

Since Johnson’s return from Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it will provide an additional $200 million in security cooperation funds for training, equipment and advisory efforts to help build the defensive capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.

This announcement reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine and brings the total U.S. security sector assistance to Ukraine to more than $1 billion since 2014.