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.
“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.
“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.
Army, Air Force and Congressional representatives joined together to break ground during a ceremony for the new 82nd Medical Group clinic on Sheppard AFB Sept. 10, 2018.
According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District Commander COL Chris Hussin, this project will modernize medical care capacity at Sheppard while significantly reducing the operations and maintenance expenses currently required to maintain the existing facility originally built here in 1963.
“Today marks the continuation of our strong partnership with the Air Force,” said Hussin. “We are working hard to deliver on this strategically important project and meet our partner’s needs — now and into the future.”
In his remarks to those attending the ceremony, 82nd Training Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr. spoke of how historically important the event was for Sheppard’s medical personnel and the people they serve as construction gets underway on the $79-million projected slated for completion by the end of 2020.
“The 82nd Medical Group provides comprehensive health services for two wings, including 20,000 beneficiaries here at Sheppard Air Force Base and the surrounding area,” said Jolly.
“I would like to take credit and say the 82nd is going to build this facility, but we’re not,” added Jolly. “Our outstanding Army Corps of Engineers mission partners, as our brothers and sisters in arms, will take over from here and make sure we have an outstanding facility. So thank you to the Army Corps of Engineers.”