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Posted 1/28/2016

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By Amy Christopherson
Transatlantic Division


Maj. Jodi Smith, a strategic plans officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Division, received the Army Engineering Association’s Bronze deFleury Medal Dec. 15 for her exemplary service to the engineer regiment.

Known by her colleagues for her cheerful, upbeat attitude, Smith has served for over 25 years both on active duty, transitioning to the Reserves and then back on active duty. While serving in the Reserves, she earned her master’s degree in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland, which she later put to use, along with her doctoral studies in Environmental Science, to complete academic papers for the Army.

Col. Richard Heitkamp, the Division’s former deputy commander, presented the award.

“Maj. Smith has demonstrated mastery of every position that she has been assigned as an engineer officer,” he said. “She has excelled in every aspect of her duties in support of the Army’s missions and ensured the success of the Corps of Engineers through her sharp intellect, hard work and inspirational leadership.”

The deFleury medal is named for Francois Louis Tesseidre deFleury, a French engineer who served with the U.S. Army during the Revolutionary War. In 1779, deFleury bravely led troops in the recapture of a small fort, Stony Point, which lifted the spirits of American troops and showed the British that the American forces were strong. DeFleury was praised by the Continental Congress and an award was created in his name.

There are three levels of the deFleury Medal, according to the Army Engineer Association. “The bronze medal may be presented to an individual who has rendered significant service or support to an element of the Engineer Regiment.  The silver medal may only be awarded to an individual who has rendered outstanding and significant support or service to the Engineer Regiment.  The United States Army Chief of Engineers awards only one gold medal each year to an individual who exemplifies boldness, courage, and commitment to a strong national defense.”

The USACE Contingency Operations Playbook was a recent accomplishment noted in Smith’s award citation. She was selected to lead the project, collect and analyze lessons learned, insights and best practices of the Contingency Engineer District in Afghanistan all of which to serve as a guide for future contingency operations.

Though as many as 80 people contributed to the publication, Smith spearheaded the project and not only wrote many of the chapters but also served as the editor. She selected and formed her team, guided them through the process of collecting information and documentation and produced each draft of the Playbook by organizing information and edits.  

Despite her efforts, Smith is always quick to credit her team.

“A lot of these contributors went to contingencies without any formal document or manuals,” she said. “They had to figure it out themselves when they hit the ground. They’ve contributed a lot of wisdom, experience and passion to help future generations.”

Heitkamp attributes that to her selfless service, leadership and hard work.

“With the Playbook, Jodi has done a fantastic service not only to the Corps, but to the Army,” Heitkamp said.

Smith later led a team in researching and writing about the United States’ contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. She and her team produced an academic, peer-reviewed paper with a briefing for the USACE commanding general to deliver at an international forum.