The Fort Worth District has one of the widest ‘footprints’ when it comes to Military and Civilian projects. They are all important, but for those projects that will directly impact and support our Military members and their Families, there is often an added personal reward for all team members involved in them.
One such project is the new San Antonio Military Medical Center’s Hyperbaric Medical Facility Addition Project. The contract for the project was awarded in July 2014, after which the design for the new facility was completed and the project construction began in July 2015.
The project represents one of the final construction projects at Joint Base San Antonio that began with a realignment of services via the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) of 2005.
The new Hyperbaric addition will be located just outside SAMMC’s main entrance and will provide care for some the most seriously injured service members. With the consolidation of military inpatient medical services, the Air Force needed to also move the hyperbaric chamber care to SAMMC.
“The design and location of the new addition is such that when you look at the number of patients and scope of their injuries, this will effectively bring the medical treatment exactly where it is most needed,” said Chris Sharp, PMP, Account Manager, Joint Base San Antonio.
To really grasp the major impact of the new addition requires understanding the critical level of care it will house.
Hyperbaric Medicine provides treatment for wound care, decompression sickness, arterial gas embolisms, carbon monoxide poisoning and provides the only active duty hyperbaric fellowship program.
While many hyperbaric facilities have ‘one-patient’ chambers, the new addition will have a chamber that can serve multiple patients.
“When you are caring for some of our most severely injured and vulnerable patients, the goal is to get those patients back on their feet. Having both mono-place and multi-place chambers in the same facility provides flexibility in care and further enhances the rehabilitation and overall recovery,” said Sharp.
Additionally, there is a seamless relationship and mutual respect that the SWF project team and the medical community SAMMC have for one another. Both recognize that the work they are doing is for achieving a very important goal; completion of a state of the art medical facility that will provide the best possible care for our Nation’s heroes.
Completion of the Hyperbaric Chamber addition is targeted for mid-year 2017.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN – A West city resident 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 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 Corps employee for 23 years, working at all levels of USACE,” said Col. Jon Chytka, USACE-TAA commander. “He embodies what the de Fleury symbolizes; a lifetime of service and significant contributions to USACE. Rob started his career as a park ranger and has grown into one of the top leaders throughout the entire Corps.”
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.
Semonite said that Newman’s work in Afghanistan displays the same attitude that de Fleury showed at Stony Point, the ability to
“Sometimes in Afghanistan nothing is easy, nothing gets done on time and nothing happens the way you think it is going to happen. You can’t find a harder place to make things happen. Someone has to step up and slash through the BS and be able to accomplish the mission. Rob has been one of the great leaders to help cut through the BS to make TAA what it is today, one of our best engineer districts and an outstanding organization,” Semonite said. “I thank Rob for his aggressive leadership of continuing to take care of our people, while at the same time accomplishing the mission.”
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.
As he prepares to redeploy back to Texas, it is his work on the AIF program that Newman is most proud of.
“The work we are doing on the Northeast and Southeast Power Projects will reestablish the national power grid in Afghanistan. Getting those systems up and running will be an integral piece in the stability and long-term security of Afghanistan,” he said. “Likewise, 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.
“What TAA has accomplished over the past year, and will continue to accomplish, is truly a team effort,” Newman added. “I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of something that will benefit a large number of Afghan people now and for generations to come. It could have never happened without the hundreds of USACE employees that volunteer to come over here to complete projects like these.”
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.